While much goes into preparing the presentation, less attention is given to preparing the introduction. Big mistake! The introduction sets the stage for the presentation; it’s like the opening act. And, a less than stellar opening can wreck the entire production. Accordingly, this article proposes unique strategies to kick your introduction up a notch. In any event, you’ll breathe life into the presentation.
- Allow someone else to introduce you.
You’re probably thinking, this tip doesn’t sound innovative. The presenter is always introduced by someone else. Here’s the twist. Recruit a familiar person to give the introduction. A person who knows you will bring more energy. For instance, I remember speaking at my nephew’s graduation; when he saw me moving towards the podium, his excitement led him to start telling the audience about me (it was a preschool graduation). Although his interjection was unexpected, it warmed the crowd up – adding a nice touch. Moreover, what he knew surprised me.
- Use media.
Thank God for technology! It allows you to shake things up. For that purpose, why not use it to jumpstart your presentation? A short video presentation with graphics, color, photos, music, and a brief narration will wow any audience; the video introduction answers who am I? Just make sure your presentation is just as electrifying.
- Resurrect your bio.
The information used for the introduction basically comes from your bio. Consequently, most read the same way. This is who I am. This is what I’ve done. This is where I received training/education. Boring! Change the sections of your bio to include topics like: Why I do what I do, what motivates me, my greatest fear, my favorite quote and/or scripture, my worst experience, or how I hope to be remembered. You get the idea. Avoid saying the same dreaded stuff as other speakers. Let the audience connect with the real you – not titles, degrees, and accolades.
- Engage the audience.
Unlike the previous recommendations, this tip is bold and risky. For the most part, the speaker shares tidbits about his or her background. Switch it around; ask the audience to tell you what they know about you. Or, simply ask the audience what they’d like to know. This strategy engages the audience, eliminates rehashing old information, and builds rapport.
- Be dramatic.
Drama has its place. With that said, turn your introduction into a cinematic production. This tip comes courtesy of the NBA, particularly the Chicago Bulls. They were the first team to introduce the players via a lighting show accompanied by the enthusiastic voice of an announcer. Likewise, your announcer does not have to be seen – only heard. With lights, music, and the voice, you create a certain mystique.
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