Introducing someone? Remember W-E-B!
WEB: for Warmth, Expertise and Brevity.
It’s all you need to remember when you are asked to introduce a speaker. Go heavy on the Warmth, moderate on the Expertise, tight on Brevity. Your job is to build enthusiasm and anticipations.
W – for Warmth:
If you feel good about the speaker, the audience will. What is interesting about him/her? What is incredible, amusing, surprising or inspiring about her accomplishments? If you’ve never met him, what did he say in a telephone call you might make? Your experience of the speaker, warmly expressed, is vital to building the energy of friendly anticipation in the audience.
E – for Expertise:
Enough to qualify the speaker to speak on his topic. Don’t rehash her whole resume or overstate her accomplishments – this is where most introductions fall flat. Weave her expertise into the topic of the speech, so the audience is primed to listen with interest.
B – for Brevity:
From 30 seconds to 2 minutes, tops. This means you’ll have to begin highly energized, rehearse for time, and err on the side of short vs. long.
Use the speaker’s name at least twice, fully pronouncing clearly.
Always interview him/her ahead of time so your connection is personalized.
If the speaker is “too important” to be personally interviewed, ask others who know him/her for interesting sidelights that make him come alive.
Smile, really smile broadly, when you ask the audience to welcome ….! You yourself then warmly welcome the speaker to the lectern or spotlight area – never desert the space before she gets there.