|Photo by Todd Dailey|
I'd like to tag along on that blog post with a story I heard from a colleague today about a botched introduction. Although it seems like a no-brainer not to do this, obviously someone did it, so it bears being mentioned.
My colleague (let's call her "Sara") was one of two speakers in a class, and when she arrived, the other speaker had already begun. Sara double-checked with the instructor to make sure she had her bio, and the instructor said, "I already read the bios at the beginning of class."
So what happened next was this: The first speaker finished, and Sara had to walk up to the front of the class -- in silence -- with no introduction or announcement, and start speaking. Now, Sara is no shy wallflower, and I'm sure she launched into her presentation with her usual verve and excitement.
But boy, what a way to take the wind out of someone's sails! Not to mention the confusion the class probably felt. An experienced speaker might know to jump in and at least remind the audience of her name before she begins her talk. A less-experienced speaker might just feel really crummy and awkward.
When you are introducing a speaker, don't read her intro 20 minutes before she speaks. The introduction must precede the speaker -- the purpose is to build up to the speaker's entrance, to create a transition from whatever happened before, and let the audience know that a presentation is about to begin. The introduction is not just a bunch of information that you can insert at any place into the event.
You don't read it a half hour before your speaker takes the stage, you don't jump in and read it in the middle of the presentation, and you certainly don't read it at the end. You read it right before the speaker goes on, transferring the stage from yourself to the speaker. Period.