The introduction of a politician, celebrity, or a professional speaker is a special case of speaker introductions. These speakers often have a prepared introduction that they will want you to read verbatim. This is particularly true if it’s a big event with lots of people in the audience.
There’s a reason. Professional speakers, celebrity speakers, and politicians don’t want to leave the introduction to chance. They know it’s absolutely critical for them to get off to a strong start.
Often they ask skilled copywriters to prepare their introductions. They want to build credibility, tell what they want told and not tell what they don’t want told. They want the introduction to create a feeling of anticipation and establish an emotional bond between themselves and their audiences.
Professional speakers have told me that they absolutely hate it when the person who introduces them tries to turn the introduction into his/her own speech.
They also shudder when the local orator or Toastmaster decides to memorize the introduction and stumbles, improvises, has lapse of memory, or worse, tries to show off his/her own virtuosity.
So what to do?
If you’re introducing a professional speakers, celebrity speakers, or politicians, be sure to ask in advance if they have a prepared introduction. Find out if they want it read verbatim. Ask if they mind if you make a few extemporaneous remarks prior to your reading the prepared introduction. And then read the introduction carefully, distinctly, and with feeling.
If the person you’re introducing doesn’t have a prepared introduction, ask if he/she could give you their bio…and what they would like emphasized. You might also ask if there’s something not in the bio that you could mention.
When you introduce a speaker, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading the introduction. Some of the greatest words of the English language, including the Gettysburg Address, were read.
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