Franklin D Roosevelt said "Be sincere; be Brief, be
seated". His advice particularly applies to speaker
introductions. Your introduction is a component of your
speech, although it is usually delivered by someone
The purpose of your introduction is to introduce you to
the audience. Not to make you feel important. Observe
the following guidelines when creating your
1. Don't leave home without your introduction. You
are responsible to create and show up with an
appropriate introduction for your introducer. Email
it to your introducer before the event if possible.
Then also bring two copies with you to the event.
Introductions have strong vanishing tendencies.
2. Call your introducer before your presentation.
Ask your introducer how it reads to them, and if
there are any awkward phrases or words. Ask the
introducer to read your introduction word-for-word.
(Introducers may still deviate and ramble into a
mini-speech, but at least you did your part)
3. At the presentation meet your introducer as soon
as you can. Supply a copy of your introduction if
the previous copy has been misplaced.
4. Now, be prepared for mishaps during the
performance of your introduction, such as the
introducer going off-track, leaving out key points,
and telling his favorite off-color joke. Be ready to
5. Tips for creating your effective
5.a. Keep it brief. Keep your introduction to a
single page, with at least 18 point font. I observe
an inverse proportion between the length of
introductions and the value of the presentation. My
experience is that poor speakers have long
introductions. Make your introduction brief, then
get in front of your audience and deliver value.
5.b. Answer these questions in your introduction. -
"Why this speaker?" (In other
words, what are your relevant credentials for this
audience?) "Why this topic?" (Why
is this presentation applicable to this audience?"
and "Why now?" (What is the current
value of this presentation to this audience?"
5.c. Remember that you are there for your audience.
Only list one, or at most two, of your credentials
relevant to this topic for this audience. Do not
invest your audience's time listing every client
that you have worked for in the past 30 years. Then
go on to expand on what your audience will gain from
your presentation. Your introduction should focus on
audience benefits, just as your presentation does.
5.d. Use simple language. Use short sentences. Your
introducer may be very nervous speaking in front of
people. Make it easier for your introducer to read
your introduction and take a seat. No fancy words
that only you can pronounce.
5.e. Never, ever, put your introduction on your
slides, and ask your introducer to read your
introduction to your audience. I have seen it done,
and cringed in shame that any presenter would ask an
introducer to read slides to an audience. This is
even worse than the despicable habit of presenters
reading slides to audiences.
That's if. These points above are enough for you to
create effective introductions for your
presentations. Your introduction is part of your
presentation. Do not allow your introduction to be a
hastily scribbled afterthought on the back of a
p.s. If you are following the Toastmasters program
and get the chance to speak at Toastmasters clubs at
short notice, then keep a "Fill-in-the-blank"
introduction with you. Mine has applicable
Toastmaster credential background and places to fill
in the speech title, the name of the manual and the
Project number. When a scheduled speaker cancels at
the last minute and I have an opportunity to present
a club speech, I have an effective introduction
under one minute.