Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Use Your Introduction to Engage Your Audience Before You Ever Take the Stage

Stop taking your speaker introduction for granted, you're missing an opportunity.
Skip Weisman, professional speaker takes the stage in front of 800 at a business conference
Skip Weisman takes the stage for a keynote in front of 800 at a
conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada after being introduced by the event sponsor
at a conference

When in an audience waiting for a speaker have you ever heard an introduction that got you excited to hear what the speaker was going to speak about?

If so, it was probably more because it was a celebrity type speaker whom you anticipated seeing because of his or her notoriety and they introduction wasn't even necessary.

Most of us are not in that category (although, recently I've actually had two people at two separate conferences tell me they chose to attend the conference because I was on the program. Despite that, I still don't count myself in the celebrity speaker category, by any means. I've got a long way to go).

That means we need to do something special and different in our speaker introduction to inspire audiences to sit up, lean in, and get excited about what they are about to hear.

You can do this in your introduction. Few speakers do.

Two problems with traditional speaker introductions:
1) They are a resume and biography offering credentials, accolades, and background experiences that are more about the speaker, than the audience. 

Those things are supposed to build the speaker's credibility, but do nothing to engage the audience in what they are about to hear.

2) There is little preparation or practice when delivering the introduction. Usually the introduction is done by the meeting planner or the senior executive of the organization who typically just wing it.

This provides numerous challenges. First, it is often not the most important task for this individual at the event.

Secondly, most are not accomplished or even mediocre presenters.

Here are some tips to turn your introduction into an enticing setup so you can take the stage in front of an audience clamoring to hear what you have to say:

1) Open the introduction with a provocative statement relating directly to your topic.  For example, for my talk on "The 7 Deadliest Communication Sins of Small Business Owners" the opening line of my introduction states:

"There are 7 communication mistakes you and your employees are making every day that undermine productivity and profits at your company."

2) Make your experience and biographical background something that relates to how you learned these strategies. For example:

"Skip became CEO of his first professional baseball team at the age of 26, and admits to regularly committing all seven of these communication sins as a young business executive."

3) Make a promise that should excite the audience about what they are going to learn and takeaway from your presentation, such as:

"Skip promises that you will leave today's session with specific communication techniques and tips you can use to immediately improve your communication skills to become a more effective leader."

Stop taking your introduction for granted and use it to build excitement in your audiences to want to hear your presentation.

Skip Weisman is The Workplace Communication Expert and a member of an elite group of international World Class Speaking Coaches.

Skip works with aspiring speakers to improve their presentation skills and programs around content, organization and delivery, while also working with the owners and CEOs of small businesses with between 6-60 employees to improve communication in the workplace.

The work Skip does with his small business clients can transform work environments in as little as 90-days to create a championhip company cultures that are more positive, more productive and even more profitable.

For more tips on making your speeches even more dynamic go to


  1. So true, Skip~~~Good reminder, and using teasers from the talk is a great tool. We should not leave our introduction to chance; it sets the whole tone of our talk.