Introductions: It’s NOT Just About You; It’s FOR the Audience Too

I used to take introductions of roles or speakers for granted in Toastmasters. I scrambled to type something quickly on my phone a few minutes before the meeting. Or if I was really late, I just wrote something on a piece of paper and passed it to the Toastmaster during the meeting! Or worst, I did not send it at all to the Toastmaster or General Evaluator and let him improvise (you can guess the embarrassing or flowery introduction he gave me). Over the years, a few old timers (aka the dinosaurs/past members) have taught me that introductions have a purpose! Take a look at some exemplary work from your fellow Toastmasters and understand the purpose of introductions.

Introductions…

Mark the transition from speaker being in the group to stepping forth to lead its thinking

Introducing the Election Chairman: Here to run our club elections tonight is our one-time club president, and also legendary ruler of all Britain who was a slayer of mythical dragons, seducer of fair maidens, and defender of all things awesome. Please raise your swords for our Immediate Past-President Sean Arthur!

Introducing the Timer (this can be creative, even a year later I still remember this memorable introduction by Jeff Battle): I received my masters and PdD in Timing from the Andreas Timing University. I did my dissertation on Timing under the supervision of Sean Arthur so I am more than qualified to help you develop your internal clock and keep the meeting running on time…here is the timing for

Help the audience understand what the speaker is undertaking so the audience may be perceptive and appreciative

Introducing Speaker doing CC#1 IceBreaker: Our next speaker comes from a place called Scandinavia. He says that coming here to toastmasters is a dream place. In his continent, education is free, healthcare is free and talk is cheap. My friends, he is two sides of the same coin. By day he is physicist, and by night, he is also a physicist. In school they said he was the gingerbread, the gingerhead, but let’s not be the judge of that, help me welcome Andreas.

Identify reasons for and/or the experience/expertise in the chosen topic

Introducing Speaker doing CC#7 Research your topic: Our last speaker has spent over 5 years practicing the Japanese martial art of Aikido. He has trained extensively with the four-foot staff known as the jo. Today in Speech #7: Research your topic, he’ll share how to defend oneself using improvised weapons. Let’s welcome Trevor Davis!

Facilitate a smooth transition in thoughts of the audience towards the topic of the speaker

Introducing an Evaluator (or serenading the Evaluator!): Our next evaluator is a very active member who aspires a bit like Disney movie herself. In fact a Sargent-At-Arms is active, she takes on a lot of roles, she aspires to Disney movies and fulfills her speaking goals. She’s funny and animated; it’s just how she’s always been. For our second evaluator, help me welcome Mimi Nguyen. Here’s the song.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ll0wsnj2trjdnzv/2014-03-19%2020.19.54.mov?dl=0

Start today!

To guide your audience on your next project, make some time to write succinct introductions (no more than 30 seconds!) and practice your creative writing. That’ll also help you start thinking about your next speech!