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An Introduction is not an Opening

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audienceOver the past few weeks I’ve noticed something interesting. A lot of people get confused about the difference between an introduction and an opening. They couldn’t be more different, but people mix up the words. So let me set you straight.

An introduction is what the host does before the speaker gets up on stage. It is how the speaker is introduced to the audience. The speaker never gives their own introduction, however he or she may have written it and provided it to the host.

An opening is the beginning of a speech or presentation. This is how the speaker introduces the audience to the topic. It is the lede, the hook, the attention-getter.

As you can see, different people present these two parts of an overall presentation. The easiest way to tell these apart is to understand that an introduction is NOT part of the speech. It exists outside of the presentation itself. An opening IS part of the speech. You can’t have an effective presentation without one.

Now, you may be asking, this seems pretty clear, how do you know that people are confused? Two instances in particular come to mind:

A couple of weeks ago I gave an education presentation on “Creating an Introduction.” The entire presentation was about what should be in it and who should be presenting it. It was very clear that this was not how to open a speech … however my evaluator kept making comments like he thought I was talking about the opening. He even said something to the effect of “I can’t wait until you talk about the body and the close!”

And then again, last night, I did another presentation where I was required to include in the introduction the purpose of the presentation. I provided the Toastmaster with the introduction and the second sentence of the introduction clearly stated the purpose of my presentation. When I read my evaluation, the first question for the evaluator was “How effective was the speaker’s introduction in helping the audience understand the purpose of The Leadership Excellence Series and the presentation itself?” My evaluator’s response was “Not given.” And I wondered if she was listening to my introduction at all.

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About the author

Carma Spence, The Own Your Awesome Mentor, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Awesome and turning it into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is CarmaSpence.com.