The presentation gets all the attention – you spend hours honing the message, preparing the power point and practicing. You do not worry about how you are going to be introduced because it’s not your job. Or is it?
How you are introduced can either set you up for a home run or a foul play, which would you prefer?
Follow these 6 steps to jumpstart your presentation before you even say a word!
1. Ask about the introduction. When speaking main stage at a conference or trade show, there is a good chance there will be a pre-recorded voice-over (also referred to as the “Voice of God”) with “talent” announcing who you are; your title or the title of your talk. However, if you are speaking at an internal sales meeting, product launch or perhaps an analyst meeting, a colleague or emcee may introduce the various presenters. In that case, you may find yourself in a position to provide your own introduction. If you ask, you can be prepared.
2. Connect. Many times, the people providing the introductions have been given their “assignment” without any input or direction – it’s an introduction, how hard can it be, right? While it isn’t a difficult or complex task, the quality of the introduction will influence listeners’ expectations, so don’t leave it to chance. If you are being introduced “live”, be sure to connect with the person introducing you beforehand. Introduce yourself and give your “introducer” a preview of the purpose, goal of your presentation (everyone likes having the “inside scoop”) and what you would like the introduction to accomplish. Finally, offer to write-up speaking notes for them to use when introducing you.
3. Craft the introduction. Let’s face it – no one really cares what year you graduated, what you studied or where you went to school (unless, of course, it relates directly to your topic). Keep it short, make sure it is relevant to your presentation, and make it interesting by revealing something pertinent about you, the subject matter and how the presentation may benefit your listeners.
4. Distribute it in advance. Get it done well in advance of the presentation date so both you and the introducer can check it off your to-do list. At the same time, be sure to have a copy with you for all rehearsals and the day of the presentation. The introduction is “all about you”, so don’t leave anything to chance.
5. Rehearse. That’s right, rehearse the introduction and choreograph the transition. Request that the introduction be practiced out loud, walk on stage, greet your introducer and work through the transition. The five minutes you spend rehearsing will minimize any surprises, calibrate expectations and boost your confidence.
6. Exchange Feedback. During the rehearsal check-in with the introducer, share your feedback and ask what needs to happen to ensure their comfort and confidence.
Over the years, I’ve learned that when it comes to delivering a presentation anything can a happen; however, if you take control of the introduction you will surely have all the pieces in place to “hit it out of the ballpark”!