We've all seen it the clumsy handoff at a conference or even with a special guest to a staff meeting. That handoff (the introduction) is part of the winning game plan. If there is a fumble in the handoff, it’s like dropping the ball on the goal line. It’s simple to do…yet a powerful winning strategy. Remember, a great introduction has two parts:
- What you say (the verbal component);
- What you do (the non-verbal component).
Let’s look at a page from the Introduction Playbook.
- Courtesy: As an introducer, you have responsibility to the speaker and to the audience. The speaker has prepared—often many hours—for the opportunity to speak at the meeting. Your introduction provides the welcome / appreciation statement to the speaker.
- Preparation: Your introduction is also preparation for the audience by getting on the same page, understanding the speaker’s credentials, and capturing why the topic will be of interest to the audience.
Follow the process below and your introduction will be a winning goal.
Verbal Component: What you say
Remember This Acronym: TISN
- T: Topic – Provide the big picture. In a sentence or two tell the audience what the general topic is about.
- I: Interest – Why will the audience benefit from hearing this presentation? Relate the relevancy of that topic to the audience's interests, i.e., what's in it for them.
- S: Speaker – Provide the speaker's background and establish their credibility to speak on the topic.
- N: Name – Save the speaker's name to the very end, and be sure you pronounce it correctly.
- CHOICE A: …and here’s Jimmy Fallon who is going to bring out a special guest.
- CHOICE B: With a special guest, let’s give a warm welcome to our host, Jimmy Fallon!
[CHOICE B: The name is always the cue for thunderous applause.]
Nonverbal Component: What you do
Remember This Acronym: PAGE
- P: Position – Have the speaker ready to come on the stage. Line up the expectations ahead of time with the speaker: where to stand, the microphone handoff, how the handshake will signify the handoff.
- A: Applaud – After you’ve given the verbal introduction (ending with the name), you start clapping to provide a clear expectation signal for the audience. You eliminate awkwardness for the audience: “Do I clap? Do I not clap?”
- G: Greet – Stand your ground until the speaker has come to the lectern. Clearly demonstrate you are glad s/he is there with a smile and a handshake.
- E: Exit Gracefully – With the handshake, you have turned over control. Simply step out of the limelight and exit gracefully.
This process can work in informal sessions, too, by simply eliminating the formalities of standing, clapping, and shaking hands.
The best introductions are brief and interesting. Be creative. Interview your speaker ahead of time and incorporate one or two unique facts about their background, experience or personal life.
When you set the tone, you help provide the win at the goal line. Be our guest and download our winning template from the game playbook.
Related Blog Post: Set Yourself Apart As An Extraordinary Conference Speaker