Man speaks before a crowd

“Please help me welcome . . .”  In most public speaking situations, the coordinators will ask you to provide your own written speech introduction for them to read (hopefully with some energy and enthusiasm). At Toastmasters, we invite speakers to provide a written introduction to the meeting Toastmaster.

So what should you include?

Here’s a tip:

Write your speech introduction before you finalize your speech.

Sounds backward, right? But writing an introduction is as much for you as for your Toastmaster or your audience. How so? Your introduction tells your audience who you are and sets up your topic for your listeners. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want them to know to be oriented to your presentation?
  • Who are you, in particular, to be speaking about this topic?
  • What can you include that will pique their curiosity or interest about the topic and
  • How can you make it apply to them before you even begin speaking?

In other words, it’s simple:

  • Why should they be listening to you?
  • What do you want them to listen for?
  • What are they going to get out of this?

Well delivered, your speech introduction energizes the room and focuses your audience’s attention.

For instance: Our next speaker, Joe Blow, has been a mighty force in the fish tank industry for over 20 years, first as an award-winning door-to-door salesman, then rising in the ranks to CEO of the worldwide Blub Blub Fish Tank Corporation. With this wealth of experience, Joe is here to share his wisdom into why on earth every home needs a fish tank, including yours. I can’t wait. Please welcome Joe Blow.

Or: I (the person introducing you) am excited to welcome Suzie Q to the stage. Suzie is new to the Toastmaster community, as we all have been at some point. Suzie is well aware of the learning curve of starting something new and facing the challenges we all face when we are in unfamiliar territory. In this presentation, Beginner’s Mind – Again, Suzie will share with us her personal experience and what she has learned about successfully navigating new situations. Please give a warm welcome to Suzie Q.
See what I mean?

Writing an introduction for your speech forces you to think about what your primary purpose is and what impact you want to have on your audience. With that in mind, you can design a speech that will bring about that purpose and have that impact.

Being very clear about your purpose will help you write a speech introduction that matters.

Speak On!!