The larger the group, the more important it is. While your introducer may
only take up 2 percent of your overall
presentation time, what the attendees
hear about you before you step on stage
impacts their perception of you.
Aspiring public speakers often hand
their introductions to someone at the last
minute, or worse, they ask their introduc-
ers to wing it. This is a recipe for disaster.
The typical introducer is nervous and
has little or no experience introducing
speakers. Assume that your introducer
falls into this category. Then, if you
encounter someone who has a flare for
introducing speakers, you’re way ahead
of the game.
Develop a dialog with your introducer before your speaking date. If
he or she knows a little about you as
a person, the introduction will sound
warmer and friendlier. The audience
senses that you have some type of relationship with the introducer, which
enhances the overall effect. Notice
that TV talk show hosts seem to have a
prior relationship with each guest, even
if it was initiated moments before. They
never bring someone out in front of the
HOW TO SUBMIT
Use a large point size, preferably 14-point
or more, because 12-point type looks
small to an unskilled introducer. When
you email your introduction, suggest
that your introducer print it out on an
8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Note cards are
too small and impractical for this critical
Some speakers advise that you send a
letter with your introduction as a form
Dear (Introducer’s Name): This pro-
fessional introduction was developed to
ensure an effective and enjoyable presen-
tation for the audience and enhance the
speaker’s message. Please do not deviate
from it by adding personal remarks (such
as “I have been asked to read this”) or by
omitting any part.
Introducers should not stray from the
printed text. If they offer an ad-hoc line,
it could squelch your planned transition.
This happened to me one time when my
introducer’s unplanned and feeble attempt
at humor bombed miserably. His lame joke
conflicted with my intended opening line,
and I had to quickly improvise.
Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, says if a
speaker does not pledge to deliver the
introduction free of these remarks, you
should find another introducer.
Read or memorize?
Should the introducer read the introduc-
tion? In most cases, yes. Almost everyone
in the audience knows that the presenter
had a hand in writing the introduction, so
it’s no surprise for an introducer to read
it verbatim. The introducer may want to
memorize the introduction, which poses
an obvious risk factor. A happy medium is
for the introducer to attempt to memorize
it and use the printed sheet as a crutch.
What’s the rush?
Caution your introducer against rushing
the introduction. The nervous intro-
ducer will fly through words and
sentences just to get it over. Other
introducers may dawdle, but I would
rather have a slow introducer who the
audience can hear. Your introduction
should be mercifully short, so even the
slowest speakers won’t take that long.
How do you say it?
If any part of your name is difficult to
pronounce, or any words within your
introduction are difficult or unfamil-
iar to the typical person, write them
phonetically. Veteran speaker Eileen
McDargh, CSP, CPAE, writes “Mc-
Dare” to avoid being called Eileen
“McDarf,” “McDarg” or “McDarr.”
My last name, Davidson, seems hard
for anyone to botch, yet I have been
introduced as Jeff Davison, Jeff Dawson
and Jeff Davis. Once I was even intro-
duced as Jefferson Davis, which amused
the audience and totally befuddled the
introducer who was unaware of his
To increase your chances of success
with the audience, make sure your
introducer is fully prepared prior to
your presentation with a well-written
introduction so your speech starts out
on the right foot. Once the introduction is over, it’s your responsibility to
make a smooth transition and dazzle
Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, was awarded the trademark, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” from the USPTO after a 10-year campaign. His 56th book,
Simpler Living, was selected by four books
clubs. His 60-Second Series is popular in China,
Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey,
Saudi Arabia, Italy, Poland, Spain, France and
Brazil. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com.