A good introduction goes a long way toward establishing your expertise and getting the audience excited to meet you. But... one thing is for sure – you don’t want to leave your intro up to the person introducing you or it can be a nightmare.
Picture this disaster: You’ve spent hours and hours prepping your speech and researching your topic and now, the big day has arrived and it’s your moment to step onstage. The emcee/host takes the mic and says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, have you watched The Tonight Show or The Daily Show? Well, this next speaker…. watches them too!” Then they project a picture of you they downloaded off the Internet, forgetting to crop out your ex-boyfriend, the Hells Angel gang member. All that work you’ve done is suddenly null and void. You’re going to have to spend the next ten minutes trying to win over an audience that now thinks you’re a nobody. In other words, you can’t leave the intro to the imagination of that emcee. They usually don’t have one. It’s up to you to control your image by writing a great intro. Here's how:
9 Tips to Write a Great Introduction for Yourself
Intro Tip #1: Make sure the bginning of your introduction has a humorous line and includes your name.
Having a little joke in the intro tests the temperature of the audience. If they laugh during the intro, you’ll know it’s a hot audience. If they don’t, this audience is going to need a warm up. I have in my intro, “Judy Carter is the Goddess of Comedy, but she says you can just call her “Goddess.” It's not that funny, but if they laugh, I know they're a hot crowd and humor is also an attention getter that will push focus to the stage.
Intro Tip #2: Let the emcee brag about you.
This is no time for modesty. Besides, it’s much more effective to have someone else brag about you than to do it all yourself. Put your impressive credits right up front. Books you’ve written, programs you’ve founded, awards you’ve received, impressive jobs you’ve held. Let your audience know, before you even step onstage, that you’re a pro.
Intro Tip #3: Mention a “down” moment in your life.
Right after mentioning impressive credentials, reveal your journey by letting the audience know about your “down” time by briefly mentioning a challenge that you had to overcome. This will actually make your success so much more impressive. It’s one thing to have spoken at Fortune 500 companies, but it’s even more impressive if an audience knows that you had to overcome a speech impediment to achieve it. Remember: this is just a quick “mention” of the low place that started your journey and not the full story in all of its glory.
Intro Tip #4: Sneak in a subtle sales pitch.
If you have product to sell, then make sure your audience knows that they will be available after your speech. You can do this by having the emcee announce that you will be autographing copies of your book, DVD, CD, or wind up dolls at the back of the room. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any products, announce that you will be available at the back of the room to answer any questions.
Intro Tip #5: State your speech title.
The audience wants to know exactly what to expect from you. They want to hear that the speech is going to be relevant to their lives. If the announcement of your speech title elicits a groan… it’s time to rethink your speech!
Intro Tip #6: Wrap it up with another mention of your name.
If your name is anything other than Jane Doe, then spell it out phonetically. It’s horrible coming onstage to the wrong name.
Intro Tip #7: Print up your intro in LARGE and BOLD FONT.
Before I walk onstage, I track down my emcee, politely introduce myself and hand him or her my intro typed out in a LARGE & BOLD font. Sometimes, the emcees have “forgotten” to wear their glasses. Make it impossible for them to screw this up and make it clear to your emcee that you want your intro read exactly as it is written. If the V.P. of accounting says, “Don’t worry, I’ll just improvise.” Just say politely, “No…. thank you.” Then hand them your copy.
Intro Tip #8: Add a Multimedia Introduction.
One of the best intros I saw was where the speaker, who was a reporter, had a brief introduction and then a video showing her in action, establishing her expertise, and laying the foundation for her speech.
Intro Tip #9: Keep your intro to less than one minute.
KEEP IT TO ONE MINUTE OR UNDER! Anything longer than that starts to feel like a speech…and hey, YOU’RE the one giving the speech!
To get step-by-step info on how to find your message, write your speech, and make it funny… read Judy’s book, “The Message of You”
Or subscribe to her weekly tips at JudyCarter.com.