WHAT should the emcee/compere say when introducing you to speak at an event?

I’d like to start with a short introduction.

“Our blogger today is a keynote speaker AND a compere. So he’s ideally placed to tell us what makes a good introduction at an event. With thirty years as a broadcaster he knows how to hold an audience’s attention, please welcome Jeremy Nicholas.”

(Applause as your blogger enters)

What do you mean you haven’t got a laminated introduction?
OK we’re going to have to go right back to basics.

You need a standard introduction and you need to insist that the emcee reads it exactly as you’ve written it. Lots of emcees like to ad-lib, which is great if they are good.
They often aren’t good. They are often awful. So that’s why your introduction needs to be short. The shorter it is, the less they can mess it up.

When you are on the stage you are in the shop window. You are laying out your wares, in this case your expertise and your credibility.
Who can sell your wares best? You of course! So get on that stage as soon as you can and don’t leave it in the hands of someone who might not be great at selling you.
(I should point out that there are some brilliant comperes in the world. I like to think that I’m one of them. But why risk it?

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIOGRAPHY AND AN INTRODUCTION

The big mistake people make is giving the emcee a biography. This is far too detailed and to be honest, no use at all. A biography is fine for the website or brochure for the event, but not for the spoken introduction.
The introduction should be short and to the point and crucially it should be written by you in a language that anyone can easily read out loud. That means short sentences and no words that are hard to pronounce.

If you name is tricky to pronounce, spell it out phonetically.
‘Please welcome: John Hot-Ow-Ka’
This is especially effective if motivational speaker John Hotowka is the next on!

MY FORMULA FOR THE PERFECT INTRODUCTION

There are four sentences in the ideal introduction.

THE FIRST SENTENCE

The first line should say who you are. It should make clear to every single person in the room, exactly who you are.
They should hear this one sentence and without any specialist or prior knowledge, know exactly who you are. That’s really important. You don’t want anyone to feel left out, because they aren’t as clued up as everyone else.

For example, I’ve introduced Sir Geoff Hurst many times at sporting dinners. He’s a legend and just about everyone in the room will know who he is.
But supposing there’s someone in the room who’s from overseas and doesn’t follow football? What about them? Do they want to spend the first half of his talk wondering who he is?
So I might say: ‘Our speaker is the only footballer to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final.’

But even that supposes a level of knowledge about the game of football. So I’d say: “Our speaker is the only footballer to have scored a hat-trick (pause) three goals in a World Cup Final.”
Most people will assume the pause is me weighing up the enormity of scoring three goals in a World Cup Final. But the American baseball fan on table seven will be quietly grateful that I explained what a hat-trick is.

I once introduced Tony Blair at an event. Just about everyone in the audience will have known him.
But I still said: ‘Our special guest today is the Prime Minister…”
You might think that odd, but not only is it inclusive for the audience, but it also gives a build-up. For those that are only half-listening, it prepares them for the important bit of information that’s on the way. So when I finally say ‘please welcome Tony Blair’, they are ready with their cheers (or boos!).

THE SECOND SENTENCE

The second thing you need in your intro is what you are going to talk about. If you can’t get the meaning of your talk into one line, then it’s not a very good talk. That line should be focussed towards what the audience are going to take away from your talk.

So a good second line would be ‘he’s going to teach us how to write really good short introductions.’

It’s all about the audience and what value they are going to get from your talk. They don’t care about who you are. They only care about what they are going to get from you.

Sorry to be blunt, but that’s the way it is. So tear up that intro you’ve been using for the past few years and write a short, simple one that will appeal to the audience and not your ego.

THE THIRD SENTENCE

The third line should tell them WHY they should listen. It should establish your credibility. If you are going to show-off this is the sentence to do it in.

What is the thing about you that impresses people most? I know I said it’s not about your ego, but that was in sentence two. With sentence three it’s all about the ego.

A good third sentence would be: ‘he’s the voice of the announcer on the global best selling video game FIFA 16′
That’s me by the way. I’m also the voice of FIFA 15, 14, 13, 12,11 …right back to FIFA 06.
I did mention that the third sentence is about showing off, didn’t I?

THE FOURTH SENTENCE

And then comes the last bit, which is ‘please welcome XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX’
(Don’t forget to fill your name in. Unless your name is XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX!)

A good fourth sentence would be: ‘Please welcome JEREMY NICHOLAS.’
I always write my name in block capitals, to make it easy for the emcee to find. Not because I’m shouting!

SUMMARY

So that’s it. A simple four point formula, but it works every time.

1.Who you are, (without saying your name).
2.What you are going to talk about
3. Why you are THE person to listen to on this subject.
4. Please welcome ……your name.

And then go and laminate it. Use a different colour of paper to white, so it’s easy for the emcee to find on a clipboard.

Thanks for listening, If you’ve enjoyed my blog I’ve been Jeremy Nicholas.
If you haven’t I’m XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX.

Jeremy Nicholas is a writer and broadcaster who’s also a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and in 2015 was awarded the Professional Speaking Award of Excellence (PSAE). He’s the only person to have three times hosted the main stage at the Professional Speaking Association’s annual convention. 

He’s on a mission to make the world’s speakers more entertaining and engaging.

Take your  speaking to the next level by joining Jeremy for a Talking Toolbox Masterclass  (In 2016 in London, Dubai, Manchester, Leeds, Stockholm, Oslo, Amsterdam and Riyadh)

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