Writing Assignment: Write An Introduction For A Speaker

by Randy Murray on April 5, 2013

Today’s guest needs no introduction.

If’ that’s so, sit down and shut up. And please, never, ever use that phrase to introduce someone. It’s trite and completely worn out.

Instead, think about the role and importance of introducing a speaker. Yes, everyone may know the speaker. The speaker is probably why they’re in attendance. But the introduction is an important, often neglected part of public speaking.

In my theater and writer training I received a great deal of training on speech and public speaking. But I received very little education about the role of the introduction. I’ve since found that it is important. The introduction sets the tone of the event. It gives the audience a framework in which to think about the speaker and what they’re about to hear. The introduction is a way of establishing and enhancing the speaker’s credibility.

If you’re given the task of introducing a speaker, take the job seriously. Think about the following things:

  • Who is this person?
  • Why have they been asked to speak?
  • What special qualification does the speaker have that makes this speech important?
  • What should the audience pay particular attention to?

Good introductions are short and to the point. Great introductions bring the audience into focused attention and anticipation for what they’re about to hear. An introduction isn’t about honoring the speaker. It’s an opportunity to provide the audience a reason to listen closely.

As in comedy, it’s hard to find a great “straight man.” For a public speaker, being “teed up” properly with a great introduction is a perl of great price.

For today’s assignment write an introduction for a speech given by someone else.

If you do not have a speaker in mind, you may introduce me as I give a speech on the topic of teaching the art and craft of writing to adults.

After you’ve written your introduction please read it out loud. Craft it to fit your speaking voice and pattern. Then practice giving it until you can deliver the introduction easily, naturally, and only occasionally referring to the text. You’ll know that you’ve been successful when the audience in your mind is eager and ready to hear the speech.

The applause that they give the speaker as he or she approaches the podium is yours to share.


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The Writing Assignment: Write An Introduction For A Speaker by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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