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  • George Torok, speech coach, presentation skills training
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    How to Introduce Your Guest Speaker
    The Three P's of Power Introductions

    "H - e - r - e - 's Johnny! There was something special about the way Ed McMahon introduced Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. The audience always knew what was coming yet they still cheered and applauded heartily. Sure, the applause signs helped, but Ed was good. He knew how to introduce the host.

    When was the last time you introduced the guest speaker? Would you like to do better the next time? You may need to introduce a guest speaker for your company, trade show or association event. Here are some tips and techniques to help you handle the job like a pro.

    The audience is not there to hear you, but you must set the stage for the speaker - and you are giving a mini speech (very mini, don't get carried away). Treat the job seriously. Talk to the speaker before you introduce them. Get a printed copy of their introduction. Ask the speaker if you must read it as is. If it appears too long or disorganized suggest changing it, but never change the written introduction without asking. There is no point in annoying the speaker as they begin their presentation.

    Get the written introduction ahead of time - read it through for clarity, understanding and pronunciation. Read it out load several times so that you only need to look down at the beginning of every phrase. Increase the size of the print, by using the enlarge feature on a photocopier or reprinting it from your computer to make it easier to read. Highlight the key words or beginning of each thought. Make sure you pronounce the speaker's name right. Say the name several times so that it feels comfortable on your tongue.

    Remember the purpose of the introduction by thinking "TIS". Topic - What will the speaker talk about? Importance - Why this topic for this audience? Speaker - Who the speaker is and why this speaker for this topic? These are the questions you must answer for the audience in your introduction. There is a tendency to over qualify the speaker. If the speaker is a PhD - don't mention their high school achievements. Unless they are talking about families - who cares how many children and pets they have?

    Sometimes the reason for picking this speaker and topic may appear obvious.
    For example if you were to introduce Albert Einstein speaking on Relativity you would not try to list all the accolades and qualifications of Mr. Einstein. But you could remind people of something both familiar and amazing by stating, "Mr Einstein is able to explain complex issues in simple terms that people can understand and remember. He accurately summarized the power of the atom with the formula, E=mc2." Most people remember the formula but may not understand it.

    Remember you are giving a mini speech. When you approach the lectern look positive. Stand confidently and smile. Pause until you have everyone's attention. Look at the audience, proudly state your name and point out that you are privileged to introduce today's speaker. Never tell them you are doing this because you lost the coin toss. You are not there to entertain so don't tell jokes. Read the introduction while looking up at the audience between scanning the words in phrases. Although you will mention the speaker's name early in the introduction be sure to close your introduction with it. "And now to speak to us on being even more creative", (pause) "please welcome, (pause) Albert (short pause) Einstein!"

    State the speaker's name clearly. Because you rehearsed, you can look at the audience when you say the speaker's name. When you introduce a friend to someone you can say their name without reading it. You must convey that same confidence. Draw out the first name a little longer than the second. Put emphasis on the first syllable of the first name and the last syllable of the second name. The second name should be louder than the first so that you build the audience to a natural applause - and the speaker feels welcomed.

    To add a little more fanfare show delight on your face once you've said the speakers name, look to the speaker and wave your hand in a gentle arc to point the audience's attention to the speaker. You won't have an applause sign - so it is all up to you.

    Keep this article for the next time you have the honor to introduce the guest speaker. You never know when you might lose the coin toss. And when no one is looking, face the mirror and say, "H - e - r - e 's Johnny!"

    For more tips on how to introduce your guest speaker and public speaking read the book Secrets of Power Presentations, by Canada's Presentation Guru, Peter Urs Bender.

    © George Torok is licensed to present Power Presentations™ by Peter Urs Bender, author of the best seller 'Secrets of Power Presentations'. Torok is co-author of 'Secrets of Power Marketing' and host of the radio show Business in Motion. He delivers seminars across North America on thinking and communication skills. He can be reached at (905) 335-1997 or Coach@Torok.com For more tips visit www.Torok.com and www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com

    If you enjoyed this article on How to Introduce Your Guest Speaker, then you also might enjoy these other helpful articles:
    (Send these articles to your guest speakers before they speak. They will thank you and they will do a better job.)

    Write your speech in 5 minutes Power of the Pause Something Important to Say

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    Introduction Tip

    What should you do in private with your guest speaker before you introduce him?

    Ask him to pronounce his name for you. Then you repeat it back to get it right. Double bonus for you. You get the name right and the speaker feels better about your introduction.


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