You’ve spent hours preparing and practicing your presentation. You walk into the room and an eager audience is all set to listen to your every word. You’re ready.
The host steps center stage and introduces you. Here’s what he says:
I’m pleased to introduce our speaker. We’re glad he’s with us today. I haven’t met him before today, but I’m sure he’ll give us a fine presentation. So here he is.
Whoops! That’s not what you were hoping to hear. Suddenly you realize that you missed a precious opportunity. You missed the opportunity to shape how you would be introduced.
Ready or not, the impact that your presentation will potentially have on your audience is in no small part determined by the person who will be introducing you. If you passively sit back and wait for that introduction, you are surrendering control over what your listeners will hear about you and your topic. By taking a more active role, you can shape the introduction and in so doing, you will have more control over what your listeners hear.
Speaker introductions, if done effectively, get the audience in a listening frame of mind. Just like your own presentation, the person who introduces you needs to pique interest by informing your listeners why they should listen to you.
Effective introductions should answer the four questions going through every listener’s mind before a presentation begins. If not done, it could dilute the impact of your presentation and potentially be disastrous to your credibility Here are some guidelines that can help.
Listeners want to know answers to these four questions:
- Why should I listen to you in the first place?
- Why should I keep listening?
- What do you want me to remember?
- What do you want me to do?
Give this Four Step Framework to the person who will introduce you:
- Here’s why the listeners should listen to me in the first place . . .
- Here’s why the listeners should keep listening to me . . .
- Here’s what I want the listeners to remember . . .
- Here’s what I want the listeners to do . . .
Here’s an example that follows the Four Step Framework:
- We’re all here today because computer hacking is warfare and the war is being waged in the privacy of our own homes.
- If we don’t learn how to protect ourselves from these vicious attacks, the financial future of everyone we love could be ruined – our privacy, our life savings, our identities instantly stolen from us with the click of a mouse.
- Our speaker today is an expert on how to protect against the devastation of cyber warfare. If you remember nothing else from today, remember this – what he’s about to tell you can save the very essence of who you are and everything you hold dear.
- Join me in welcoming the person who can give us back our peace of mind and help us defeat those silent and hidden digital enemies who threaten our future.
Should you write your own introduction? Perhaps. Talk it over with the person who will introduce you for their preferences.
Whether or not your provide an actual script is less important than providing the Four Step Framework along with the key point to be covered in each step.
By doing so, you will ensure that you’ve done everything you can to help get your listeners ready to listen, stay in control of what they hear, and protect your own credibility as a presenter.