Tips for Introducing a Guest Speaker
Tips for Introducing a Guest Speaker
If you’re slated to introduce the guest speaker you should make a point to introduce yourself to them first thing in the morning to ensure you have the proper pronunciation of their name and tell them that you’ll be introducing them. If you wish you can join the speaker at the head table to give you an opportunity to get to know them a little better.  Never try to give a speech of introduction strictly from memory, always make notes.
The introducer’s job is to
1. Remind the audience why the topic is important to them
2. Establish the speaker’s qualifications to speak on the topic
3. Get the presentation off on a high note by establishing an up-beat tone
4. Make the speaker feel especially welcome
All of this can be accomplished in no more than a couple of minutes.
Most introducers think their job is either to entertain the audience by being funny, or to make a speech of their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. The audience didn’t come to hear the introducer; they came to hear the featured speaker.
Here is an example of an appropriate and effective speech of introduction:
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It’s a great pleasure for me to introduce our speaker today, who is going to talk to us about the ten most common personal financial planning mistakes. This is a subject in which we should all be deeply interested because it’s by avoiding financial mistakes that we can best ensure our financial futures. Our speaker, although having spent almost his entire career advising people on their finances in places like New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, grew up about thirty miles from where we are right now. He is an award-winning professional accountant who has specialized in personal finances and taxation for over twenty years, and has guided the financial affairs of some of this country’s best-known athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs and executives. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming home, Steve Robbins!”
When you arrive at the lectern to perform the actual introduction, remember these ten rules.
1. Stick to meeting the four objectives of a speech of introduction; avoid the temptation to make your own speech, either on the topic or anything else
2. Never try to introduce a speaker from memory; have good notes
3. Never tell a joke. There are no circumstances that justify telling a joke during a speech of introduction
4. Keep the introduction as short as possible
5. Be up-beat and enthusiastic
6. Avoid clichés such as “a person who needs no introduction” and “without further ado”
7. Look at the audience, not at the speaker, during the introduction; turn toward the speaker only at the very end of the introduction
8. Start the applause
9. Wait at the lectern and greet the speaker with a hearty handshake
10. Go sit down
Remember, when introducing or thanking a speaker, you are not the star.
Source: Lyman MacInnis,
Rev. Jun’17