How To Introduce Guest Speakers

At many events and special programs, there are guest speakers invited. It’s their job to share their experience, wisdom and insight to the audience who have gathered to hear him speak. Oftentimes, an event is organized around the presence of the guest speakers, so they should be given the proper deference and importance.

As the host or emcee, it’s your job to give a proper introduction to the guest speakers. You want to prepare the audience properly so they know what to expect and so the guest speaker can have a warm reception. Whether you’re only introducing one speaker or a whole sequence of people, here are some tips to help you make your introductions.

  • Know whom you are introducing. Find out beforehand how many speakers there will be. Oftentimes, there is only one main guest speaker. Read the program of events briefly so you have an overview at what point the speaker should be introduced. You don’t want to be caught unawares when you’ll be needed onstage to make the introduction.
  • Prepare the introduction properly. Make sure the program organizers have an updated biodata on the speaker. If it’s part of your job to write the introduction, you need to make sure your information is correct and current. You may talk to the speaker beforehand or call his office to ask for his current resume. He may already have a standard script prepared that he likes to use for his introduction.
  • Say the name correctly. The worst thing you can do when making an introduction of your guest speaker is to fumble on the pronunciation of the name. No one wants to have his name said incorrectly, and it is highly embarrassing to do this in front of an audience over a microphone. If the speaker has an unusual sounding name, make sure you say the first and last name in the proper sequence and you pronounce it correctly. Use the proper and highest title or designation also.
  • Keep it short. If your guest speaker is highly accomplished, you may need to edit his introduction. You don’t want to bore your audience with all his credentials. For example, if your speaker is highly educated, you don’t need to say where he went to high school. Focus on his college, masters and PhD level of education. However, you want to put just enough of it so your audience is impressed and will see why the guest speaker was chosen to speak at the particular gathering.
  • Keep it current. When introducing your speaker, try to provide the latest information on him. For example, although your guest speaker has many accomplishments, try to mention the most recent and significant ones. Unless your guest has one significant moment or overriding accomplishment in the past, such as being at one time the president, try to mention things in the most recent past.

Try to do a short rehearsal before you go on stage. You want to make sure your blocking and timing is correct. For example, don’t turn to stage left when the speaker is supposed to come out stage right. Read the script or introduction before you go onstage so you can make any corrections and you aren’t surprised by what you read.

Give the best introduction to your guest speaker so he can see how you appreciate his presence. At the same time, your audience will give him the proper deference and a resounding welcome if you introduce him properly.


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