Drafting an introduction

It is always safer to draft your own introduction rather than leave it to chance that the host will introduce your presentation in an effective way. In this second of five excerpts from a presentation based on Toastmaster’s International’s “Better Speaker” series of educational presentations, I share some tips on how to draft a speaker’s introduction … whether you are writing one for the speaker or are writing one for your introducer.
 

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General essentials of creating an introduction

Now that you know the difference between an introduction and an opening, let’s go into how to create an introduction. In this first of five excerpts from a presentation based on Toastmaster’s International’s “Better Speaker” series of educational presentations, I talk about why an introduction is important, as well as some things that need to be included in one.

In summary, an introduction provides two main things for a meeting or event:

  • A smooth transition from one part of the meeting to another.
  • Sets audience’s mindset, preparing them for what is it come

Also, an introduction should include:
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An Introduction is not an Opening

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:
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