May I Introduce…

When making an introduction, Emily Post recommended you first look at the person you are introducing-- and then turn to the audience. Speak clearly. Use courteous language as in, "I'd like to introduce..." and use preferred names and titles. Wow! An intro like would that bore the most attentive audience, yet that mid-century model is still in vogue.

Memorable introductions are not easy to compose or deliver. Recently, when we were introduced, Eloqui's name was mispronounced, followed by a lengthy reading of our bios pulled directly from our website. A colleague, we'll call her Anne was introduced at her TED Talk with an overview of her entire presentation-- spoiling any hope of surprise. Her recent book was not even mentioned, which is how Anne makes her living.

If you are making the introduction, contact the speaker and find out something intriguing from their life-- whether it's a sport in which they excel; a charity they support or what they learned from a mentor that they've incorporated into their business. Best of all, if you know the speaker or have experience working with them, relate your insights about what makes them a standout. It's a great way to showcase both you and the speaker.

And when you are the guest speaker, send in your content ahead of time to better control how you will be introduced. Include what sets you apart, or a life experience that shaped you. First impressions are critical. Customize your intro for the audience. And make it count.

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