How To Introduce a Presenter

By: Adeodata Cznik – Owner of Business of Manners

This article will offer many useful tips on how to introduce a presenter at an event. I am constantly amazed when people who introduce main platform keynoters stumble on names and struggle with titles. Reading lengthy, yawnable bios and sometimes even a mini-keynote of their own from crumpled notes, these people puzzle me. Why don’t they know how to make great introductions? Doesn’t anyone teach “introducer” skills?

If I am slated as a speaker, I give introducers a two-line bio and make them pronounce my name several times. Often, they go up on stage and mess it up anyway. Then they laugh at their mistake. Or I get someone who does not bother to prepare. He gets up on stage, has no clue what to say and messes up my name completely. Then he looks to me and asks with a smile, “Did I pronounce that right?” No, dear, you did not, nor did you bother asking ahead of time.

So, if you have been given the honour of introducing a speaker, make sure you clear anything you will say with the speaker beforehand. Learn how to pronounce the speaker’s name. This is a common courtesy and a sign of respect.

Make sure what you say is relevant. I once received an introduction that I will never forget. The speech was for adult Chinese students who had their degree from abroad. Chinese are always a pleasure to work with since they are so attentive and eager to learn, unlike some cultures who feel that I am talking down to them. The topic was first job interviews.

Without clearing it with me first, the introducer told them that I sing Gregorian chants for the dying. (Yes, this is mentioned on my profile on my website, in addition to my etiquette services and background). First of all, talking about death is quite taboo for Chinese. Second, the subject of my talk was job interviews, a subject that has nothing to do with singing or death. So thank you, Mr. Introducer, you just made my job so much easier for me.

At my last speech, the introducer specifically asked how to pronounce my last name. I thought it was quite thoughtful of him. Once on stage, he mispronounced my first name four times out of four. Whose fault was that? Probably mine, since I did not clear it with him. I just assumed he knew because every time we talked on the phone, I introduced myself.
Never assume. Make sure everything is cleared on both sides. Nobody wants to start a presentation on the wrong foot.

With generous contributions from Jane Atkinson, Speaker Launcher.


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