You are going to be a speaker at an event, be a member of a panel, or present information at a board meeting. Would your presentation go more smoothly if your audience knew who you are, why you have been chosen to speak, and what you are going to be talking about? I believe it would. Those are things I want to know when I’m sitting in the audience.
When was the last time you heard an effective introduction? Too often the introduction is either a boring reading of the speaker’s resume, or they are so built-up that we expect the speaker to amaze and entertain us – even if that is not what they are here to do.
You should prepare your introduction. You can offer it to the person who will be introducing you, but be prepared for them to forget to read it, or say what they want to say instead. If they don’t read it, be prepared to incorporate that information into your presentation.
What is your goal with an introduction?
- Make a transition
- Establish a mind set.
- Identify your authority
What to include:
- Speaker’s name
- Speaker’s topic
- Title of the speech
Other not-so-clear guidelines:
- Create a friendly environment
- Create a sense of anticipation
- Keep it short (30-45 seconds)
- Do NOT give a “preview” of the speech
- Do NOT praise the speaker’s skills or set unreasonable expectations
- Stay away from clichés
Here’s an example of introducing me when I gave a speech at my Toastmasters club:
Our next speaker, Peggy Kimmey, will be presenting an educational speech “Creating an Introduction” to help us learn to write an introduction for our speeches. Peggy joined her first Toastmasters club in the fall of 1998, has achieved the level of Advanced Communicator Silver, as well as being one of the sponsors for our club. Let us prepare to learn what to do for the next speech that we present to our club. Please join me in welcoming Peggy Kimmey.
Question: I’m preparing for a presentation – I’ll be one of 5 companies making our “pitch”. What can I do to make my presentation and my company stand out?
Answer: The customer is always right. You have to show them that you understand their requirements – and can meet them – best. It’s not about the competition or even testimonials from your happy customers, it’s about THEM.
Reference each their questions or issues first, then how you will solve the problem for them. Be open and honest; give them a feel for your company style and the people they’ll be working with on a regular basis. Make them so comfortable with you that it would feel uncomfortable to bring in anyone else. I recommend reading “Getting Naked” by Patrick Lencioni.
Please let us know if this tip was helpful – or ask questions for other tips we can share! And of course, if you want to practice and receive feedback before you give your presentation, we have a variety of coaching formats to fit your schedule and location. Go to www.kimmeyconsulting.com
A business introduction (often called an “elevator speech”) should give the basic information about you: name, company, title if it’s meaningful. But more important is for you to tell something of interest so the other person wants to hear more. Take a few minutes to plan some things to say. What is your company slogan or motto? Do you have a familiar logo, song, or mascot (think of the Oscar Mayer song or the Aflack duck)? What makes your company unique or better than others in the industry? What do you like best about your job? What do you like best about your company? Do you have a recent sales statistic or press release item that they may have heard of? Now that you have lots of good things to say, narrow it down.
Keep your introduction short and interesting. Don’t give us a list of your products or services. Tell us how a particular product or service helped someone. Your audience will relate, or know someone who could relate, to that customer and you will have successfully made a connection.
If you are making small talk and they ask “what do you do?” Ask them “Have you ever heard this slogan” then say your company slogan. Explain what the slogan means for what you do. Or tell about a recent event: “I’m an Xyz for ABC Company and we just… opened a new store / donated $$$$ to the local food bank / were written up in “Who’s Cool” magazine for…”. You get the idea.
Finally, consider the pieces of information that you can talk about, and tailor what you say for your audience. If you are at a business meeting and everyone in the room is introducing themselves, make yourself and your company sound exciting and remind the room what makes your company (and you) stand out from the crowd. If you are at a PTA meeting however, think of how you can use your skills to be of service to the group. People need to know you want to help, not just participating so you can sell them something. But they would rather buy/use services of someone they know than go to a stranger.
Make it fun – people remember more when they are having a good time (including you).
Please let us know if this tip was helpful – or ask questions for other tips we can share!