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Wednesday
Mar242010

Write Your Own Introduction

The introduction to you and your speech serves two purposes:

  1. Arouses audience interest in the speaker
  2. Arouses audience interest in the subject or its benefit to them, without giving it away.

If these two reasons are important to you as a speaker, then it makes sense to get your introduction right, right?  To get your introduction right, write your own.

Prepare your introduction well ahead of time and send it to the meeting organizer or the master of ceremonies (the Toastmaster in our case) so he or she can read it before introducing you.  In addition to your spoken introduction, include the following in your instructions to your introducer:

  • Your Name
  • Speech Title
  • Speech Duration
  • Special Equipment or Facilities Requirements

Your introduction depends on the context of the audience and your speaking role:

  • A community audience might have more interest in you, your family, and community involvement. A workplace audience might be more interested in your role, your organization, current project (if applicable), noteworthy accomplishment (if it relates to the purpose of the meeting, your speaking role, or the audience).  A Toastmasters club has no context, so let's assume that our workplace audience has a workplace context unless we change it, say for a particular presentation.
  • The length of your introduction corresponds to the length of your speaking role. The person telling the joke gets a shorter introduction than a prepared speaker.  A Table Topics speaker gets no introduction other than topic and name.

In the workplace, your minimum introduction is as follows:

  • Name
  • Role
  • Organization
  • [Noteworthy accomplishment]

Ensure you speak with the introducer directly, if possible, whether it be over the phone or in person on the day of your speech. Instruct them to introduce you exactly as written.  Ask them to recite it to you so you can help them refine the timing or vocal inflection. Take the time to assure your success by helping your introducer to introduce you.

Having served many times as a master of ceremonies, I usually edit the introductions speakers send me. The previous paragraph assumed that you can think and write. The remainder of this article will help you do that.

Structure

Write the introduction in two parts:

  1. Introduce the speaker
  2. Introduce the speech

Sample

Title: Process Change

Introduce the Speaker

Craig Senior is a CMII-certified project manager, working in the information technology industry for the past 20 years on some of Canada's largest national-scale systems for organizations such as Canada Post, Dept of National Defence, Dept of Justice, and Public Works and Government Services Canada. He worked with SHL Systemhouse, LGS Group, CGI and now CSL Consulting. His primary focus was on system implementations, later project management office, bar code technology, and now document management.

Introduce the Speech

Of the many techniques Craig used over the years, configuration and change management remain at the core of everything he does. Process is what we all do everyday. The ability to manage and change processes under control is key to long-term success. Business analysts have a place in that change. This presentation will look at timeless, universal principles and the role business analysts play in applying them.

Template

Use this template to write introductions to a speech. The speaker writes it; the Toastmasters/emcee reads it.

Speech Introduction Template (Word.DOC) 

 

Coach Craig

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