Saturday, April 19, 2008

Proper Introductions ...

GULP! Got a comment on a post about speakers that I've been guilty of overlooking too .... the proper speaker introduction. Kare Anderson writes: [emphasis mine]

"As a speaker, let me pass along a concern that is often discussed at our speaker conferences: I am taken aback by the number of people who do not practice giving the introduction, however brief. Not checking the mic ahead of time, fidgeting at the podium, reading the introduction in a neutral tone or too fast, without knowing how to pronounce a name or other words in the introduction or not looking at the audience as one gives the introduction can take away from the introducer's 'presence' and can make an awkward segue for the speaker. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest."

SHE'S RIGHT! How many times is the introduction of a speaker just dreadful? How many times do we just hand off the introduction to whoever just happens to be standing there (or on the committee) rather than asking someone who is a known good speaker to do it? Do we make sure the introducer know how to pronounce the name of the person being introduced?

Part of the problem (at least part of my problem) is that sometimes get 2-page biographies, but not a doc called "speaker introduction". Handed to the wrong person, that bio can take a really, really long time to read (does their college major really matter when they're middle-aged?)

Few additional thoughts:

1. When we hire speakers should we ask for 5-7 sentences for a speaker intro - and then they can choose which part needs to be included? But not whole bio.

2. Do we make CERTAIN the instruction to turn off cell phones is given BEFORE the introduction - in hopes of eliminating ringing?

3. Is there clarity with facility about when dishes can be cleared or not cleared, when food can enter or leave the room during a presentation, when dishes and mugs refreshed during the program (noisy!), and what's on the other side of the wall (if it's a kitchen they have to wait to do the dishes). As a frequent speaker myself, it's completely annoying to compete against the servers, clearers and dish washers.

By the way, check out Kare's blog - informative (and entertaining) reading!


Anonymous said...

Speakers should be asked for a BRIEF bio. Specify exactly how long it should be (and keep it short).

I'm miffed when an organization merely downloads biographical information from my web site and has someone with poor reading skills drone through it.

The bio should help the audience know more about the speaker, not be used by the speaker to brag to the audience.

KareAnderson said...

Thank you for reinforcing the ways an introducer can "set-up" a speaker to launch the speech in a way that pulls in the audience.

When you wrote about "2-page biographies" it struck me that your conversational writing style in your blog is similar to the tone of a good intro: warm, direct and fresh.

another fan of your blog