How to Introduce a Speaker

Have you ever had to kick-off a large meeting, session, or workshop and wondered how to introduce a speaker or presenter?

Me, too.

And how much advance notice did you get—a month? Maybe a week?  Even a day in advance is enough time to dig up some fun facts about her or him, thanks to some Google-sleuthing.  

What to do when you don’t have time to prepare a proper introduction

But what happens when you only have MINUTES to prepare. Say, oh, seven of them. What do you do? Is it possible to inspire and engage an audience with only a few moments to prepare?

In short, yes—because this very scenario has happened to me on more than one occasion, and I owe my success (or least my un-failure) to the power of noticing.  

The power of noticing and how to keep notes

So how many of you are saying, “What are you TALKING about?  How can I notice when I need to jump in and write down everything I’m going to say?  I’m too busy freaking out to notice!”


And my response is: The noticing happens in the days and weeks leading up to the impromptu introduction.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Pay attention to the people around you and their stories. They are REAL and living REAL lives. Having REAL human moments.  When you begin to notice how they touch, inspire, or connect with you, that’s where the heat is. And heat is authentic.
  2. Jot ideas in a journal. I keep a small notebook in my purse.  When someone says something that touches me or I run across a quote on the internet that leaves me feeling the heat, I capture it. It only takes a few moments, and (for me) it usually only happens a few times a week.  That notebook is a treasure trove of noticing.
  3. Notice how noticing leads to more noticing. Once you start making these connections, you’ll begin to see it more often—and often in simple ways. It may be kindness extended to strangers. A colleague’s reflections on leadership. Your own ah-ha’s about how you can be even more effective by shifting a small thought or behavior.
  4. Tap into being human. The beauty and adventure of living can help you inspire others to do the same. Notice how you feel in those moments of connection. And be willing to share that heat.
  5. Carpe Diem. When you get called (either by other or the voice you notice in your head) to kick off a session, meeting, or keynote, grab your notebook and share a REAL story from it. Tell it with humility and courage.

payattention_stories

Give it a shot – no need for a rehearsal or a catalog of details.  Share from your heart, and you’ll find that you not only inspire others, but also yourself (all over again!)

And after you inspire folks once, they’ll probably want more—so keep noticing. I often find that when I start a session, workshop or meeting with the power of something I’ve noticed, others are quiet, present, and willing to do the same.

People will notice.

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Avatar for Amber Lineback

Amber Lineback

Amber will tell you that her passion is learning — in all its forms. “I believe it happens when we bump into something different,” she says, “Whether it is experiencing a different culture through travel or helping a team work through conflict. Growth is a life-long process, and there’s a wise saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I get a kick out of being the student as much as being the teacher.”

  • David H

    Solid advice. I always appreciate a speaker that embodies the humble courage you recommend in the article.