October 20, 2017

How to Introduce a Guest Speaker to an Audience

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Here are two examples of how to introduce a speaker and make everybody sit up waiting expectantly for the speech. The first comes from a wedding reception. The second is from the opening ceremony of a conference.

Wedding speaker introduction

"She must be the bride's sister." That was my immediate impression when I was introduced to her after the service. And then I found out that she's more than a sister to the new missus.

Through the years, she's become a friend and a confidante. Tonight she has a few words of praise and appreciation to share about the lovely woman whose marriage we've witnessed.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's put our hands together to show some love for the graceful and beautiful...mother of the bride!"

Conference speaker introduction

"There are only two Ghanaian professors who've ever been inducted into global Halls of Fame in their respective professions. One is our very own professor and former world boxing champion Azumah 'Zoom Zoom' Nelson.

The other is our next speaker.

Our speaker is a scientist and engineer. He's played a pioneering role in introducing and developing the Internet throughout Africa. We're honored to have him share with us how online businesses can be developed in Ghana.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's have a round of applause for Ghana's own Internet Hall of Famer...Professor Nii Narku Quaynor!"

Why these introductions work.

Both of these introductions were well received by the speakers and their audiences. Why?

  • They both incorporate a combination of surprise and unusual comparisons (mother being mistaken for the bride's sister; academic professor being compared with a famous boxing champion).
  • They are both brief, positive and speak of the speakers' experience or qualifications in glowing terms (mother as friend and confidante; academic as Internet pioneer).
  • Each introduction focuses on the subject of the remarks to be delivered by the speakers. This way, each audience is prepared by the MC to hear the speakers address a specific topic.
  • Both maintain suspense by only revealing the identity of the speaker at the very end of the introduction. This technique draws audiences into a drama by heightening their interest in what is being said.
  • This formula works. It's the secret for introducing speakers and making everybody take notice. Use it the next time you have to prepare introductory remarks. And be ready for the positive vibes you'll be helping to spread all around!