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Introduction of Keynote Speaker

How to Look Fantastic Introducing a Keynote Speaker

You’ve been asked to introduce a keynote speaker… and you don’t want to blow it. The eyes of your peers and superiors will be upon you and you know you need to make a good impression.

Here’s what you need to do and say so both you and the speaker WOW the audience.

Prepare Ahead of Time. Even though you may only be at the microphone for 30 seconds to 3 minutes max, you need to do some homework.

If you are not familiar with the keynote speaker, research them. Google them, talk with people who know them. Call the speaker and talk directly to him or her. You need to know enough about the speaker so you can be excited about introducing them and listening to them.

  • While they will probably send a bio and introduction, review it carefully until it seems natural for you to speak about it. Be meticulous about the pronunciation of their name and title. Make sure you say the title of the talk correctly, word-for-word. Be sure to have the facts straight.
  • Your purpose is to let the audience know why this particular person is the right keynote speaker to teach your audience about the topic at hand.
  • If you can memorize the intro-- or close to it-- you’ll give more credibility to yourself and the speaker. You’ll also look capable as you make sure the mike works ahead of time and you know from what side the speaker will come to the stand when you’re through speaking.
  • To start, your first responsibility is to focus the audience.

Get Attention. You draw the attention of the audience to you as you first introduce yourself and your title. People may not know who you are. Then you announce the speaker and the topic title. Avoid clichés like needs no introduction or to be brief…

Increase Credibility. Don’t simply read the bio off the program. Participants may already have read it. That’s boring. Instead, choose a few of the most relevant pieces of the speaker’s credentials.

In essence you are saying: This is why you should listen to this person. He has the expertise in our field because of these reasons. You are creating credibility.

Explain Benefits. Most people think: what’s in it for me? Your introduction should answer that question. Why should they be spending their valuable time listening to this speaker? Hopefully the speaker’s packet of materials explains the benefits of a keynote speaker to the audience.

If you’ve read up on the speaker or spoken with them, you will have your own personal story to tell about why they want to listen and what they will get out of it. Tell the story… but keep it short. Remember, to leave as much time as possible for the speaker.

Don’t outline or cover points of the speech. That’s the job of the speaker. But you can say, “I believe you will leave here with a clear understanding of growing your visibility and influence.”

Show Enthusiasm. As you conclude your introduction, let your enthusiasm for the keynote speaker show through. Look excited and interested. Let your voice increase in strength and raise in pitch.

Say the last lines looking directly at the audience. The last words should be the name of the speaker. For example: “Today Joel will speak on “Reducing Stress in The Workplace.” Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Joel Garfinkle!”

Step back from the mike and begin clapping. Turn toward the speaker, but stay on stage until he comes to the podium. Shake hands. This is a tacit transfer of “the floor” to the speaker. Then quietly exit behind the speaker.

Do this and you will look like a pro. You will impress the audience with your knowledge of the speaker and your skill in a smooth introduction. It will increase your visibility and your credibility. In a small way, you gain reflected glory from the speaker. Enjoy it!

Copyright © 2012 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"

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