Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Introductions: Their Care & Feeding!

Filed under: Author Articles,Introductions — Larry James @ 7:00 am

As a professional speaker, it is wise to exercise responsibility and assume ownership of your own introduction. A bad introduction, can ruin a good meeting!! An un-prepped introducer often will under-state or over-state the facts about the speaker to the audience, confusing fact until it’s fiction, and sometimes accurately articulating the irrelevant until the audience loses interest. A disinterested audience is a speaker’s nightmare. So is a bad introduction.

Nearly thirteen years ago, I had an introduction that went something like this: “This afternoon we have a special speaker who will talk about. . .” (he paused and looked at me, hoping I would offer the topic, and continued) “Ah. . . I think his topic will be of interest to you. Here’s Larry. . . ah. . . Jones!” My name is Larry JAMES. How embarrassing for HIM.

IntroductionsWhen this happened I promised myself that I would do everything I could to keep the introducer from making a complete fool of himself and instead help him prep the audience with an introduction that would establish my credibility to speak on the topic and help the audience to know they were going to hear the real “me.” I also determined to provide the introducer with some guidelines to demonstrate the important part they were playing in the event.

I always write my own introduction. I send a copy to the person who hired me to speak and also bring an extra copy with me (just in case). In addition, when I send the introduction to the meeting planner, I staple a copy of the following as a cover sheet to stress the importance of the introduction.

To some of you, this may appear to be an extreme, however, I have yet to have a meeting planner object and most of my introductions have been presented in a more professional way.

Be sure to provide your introduction in a large font (about 14 point). It’s much easier to read.

• Bonus IdeaRita Emmett, Professional Speaker, says, “When you give the meeting planner a copy of your introduction on the day of the presentation, print your introduction on colored paper (so it stands out from the other papers they are schlepping around) and use 14 or 16 point type to make it just a bit easier to read.”

• Bonus Idea – Include a brief statement in the introduction that politely asks everyone to please turn their cell phones and pagers off before the speaker begins so everyone will be able to enjoy the program.

Here is what I attach to the introduction:

Introductions: Their Care and Feeding!

For best results at your meeting. . .

Give the attached introduction and this flyer to the introducer; someone who is willing to commit to follow the following guidelines. If they can’t make the commitment, give it to someone who will.

Why bring this up? Because. . . you must always take a good introduction seriously!

A bad introduction, can ruin a good meeting! A good introduction creates the attitude of listening the audience will have for the speaker. It sets the stage. It establishes a partnership with the introducer and the speaker and helps the speaker connect with the audience.

For a partnership to work, it takes cooperation, both from the speaker and the introducer. A good introduction for the speaker will inspire the speaker to live up to the expectations talked about in a good introduction. A bad introduction will most always affect the speaker, even a professional speaker, as well as the audience.

The introducer does not have to be great, just better than usual. For anyone to be better than usual, you must always do more than you’ve done in the past. It takes concentration on the task at hand. It takes a commitment to do a good job!

nointroductionAd-libbing does not work! Most of the time it will make the introducer look bad. An ad-libbed introduction, often comes across as “thrown together.” Never “wing-it.” People who “wing-it” in life do not come across as professionals. It makes them look and sound as if they were unprepared.


1. Remember to bring the introduction with you to the meeting!

2. Practice, drill and rehearse. It is good to practice reading it in front of a mirror. Read it over until you feel comfortable with it!

3. Stop at the periods and pause at the commas! Also pause when laughter occurs, if it occurs!

4. Read the introduction word for word. Please, no ad-libbing!

5. Read it with enthusiasm. Make it sound like you are glad the speaker is there. Don’t overdo it, you don’t have to be as good as the speaker!

6. After you’ve read the introduction, turn to the speaker, shake his or her hand and take your seat! Thank you for your consideration! These “Introduction Guidelines” are provided as a courtesy of your speaker. Let’s have a GREAT meeting! Thanks, again!

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at:

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