September 18, 2006
Six Steps to Your Perfect Introduction From the Podium
Washington Post A few years ago Your Business Blogger was privileged and honored to introduce Steve Forbes at a fundraising event with 950 of my closest friends. I was tempted to honor him with the most flattering, and shortest intro by saying, “Here’s Steve Forbes, who needs no introduction…”
But most of us will.
Need an introduction.
So when your big break comes, that magic moment arrives — how do you that know you’ll get that classy intro, with just the right touch?
You know your introduction will be perfect. Because you will write it.
History was very good to Winston Churchill because Winston Churchill wrote it himself. Here’s a brief history outline — to write your own story:
1) Short. Two minutes, 250 words.
2) Welcome. Say hello as if to a single person. Forget the other 949.
3) Bio. The current gig, then what you are best known for. Credentials and qualifications.
4) Topic. The topic.
5) So What? Review the key questions of why we are all here and why we should care
6) Clap. Join me in welcoming and start clapping…
Remember, a good introduction serves as a stepping stone, bridge, a segue to the Keynoter to begin for a smooth and exciting transition.
Not a bad introduction. The worst introduction I’ve experienced was a joke. Literally. And I didn’t like not being in on the joke — it wasn’t funny because I swallowed the bait whole.
I was working a trade show and sat in on some breakfast speechifying. The Headliner, a Hal Becker, Mr. Motivational Speaker, supplied — later, we learned — his own introductory remarks, as Your Business Blogger suggests here. However, Becker’s “background” included a series of terminal degrees from Ivy League universities and instructing at medical schools. Very, very impressive. But I should have known that a Nobel Laureate would not be speaking to this group.
This group being any group in which I was a member.
Instead I got surprised. The speaker was only [gasp] an ordinary business guy. I was duped. Which is, well, nothing new.
My expectations were not managed with me not seeing the ol’ switcheroo. Everyone else thought the guy was a hoot.
I didn’t hear the speech, which I am told, was very good.
But this Keynoter Hal Becker forgot Rule One in public speaking: Only experts should use humor.
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Thank you (foot)notes:
Hal Becker does have quite a resume, even with a poor sense of humor — he was the number one salesman at one time in Xerox’s 11,000 person sales force. He is well worth his $7,500 speaking fee. Just introduce him yourself.