33 Introducing a Speaker
“The purpose of the introduction is to make the speaker feel good and feel welcome before they speak.” This was the advice of a colleague of mine right before I had to introduce our university’s speaker. I took this advice and ran with it as I am tasked monthly with introducing speakers to our university faculty training sessions. You will likely be called upon to introduce a speaker at work or on campus so you should know the expectations of this type of speech.
Speech introductions have three main purposes
- To build up the speaker’s ethos in the minds of the audience. You want your audience to feel like the speaker is credible to speak on the topic.
- To introduce the topic to the audience. The more they hear the basics of the topic, the more they will be able to remember the topic.
- To make the speaker feel welcome and to make them feel good before they speak.
Gather Your Information
Ask the speaker for biographical information you can share in their introduction.
Ask the speaker for the title of their speech.
“Google” the person, check their LinkedIn, ask people who know them for the information you might include.
Ask them what they want to be called. Some prefer Mr. and Ms. and others prefer their title. Some like to be called Professor while others may prefer Doctor.
Sample Introduction of a Headline Speaker
Sample Introduction of Student Graduation Speaker
Format for Speech Introductions
Most speech introductions are read off of manuscripts or detailed notes. There is a chapter on how to write and use a manuscript here.
Bhuj, N. (2017). Best introduction speech for Barack Obama. [Video] YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU-BUWZPVo0 Standard YouTube License.
Degenerous, E. (2009). Ellen at Tulane Commencemen. [Video] YouTube.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e8ToRVOtRo Standard YouTube License.
Dunham, J. (2019). Valedictorian comes out as autistic during speech.[Video] YouTube. https://youtu.be/GtPGrLoU5Uk Standard YouTube License.