MANAGING MEETINGS--INTRODUCING GUEST SPEAKERS
Sooner or later, every Farm Bureau leader has the responsibility of introducing a guest speaker at a meeting. To do the job well, it takes some preparation and thought on the part of the introducer.
Frequently introducers make the mistake of failing to stop and think about the audience who’s going to hear the speaker.
Legitimize the Speaker
The introducer has the responsibility to legitimize the speaker’s being there before that group. Try to find something in their experience or skills that should mean something to your audience. There is always some reason that a speaker was asked to talk to the audience and that can be a point of departure for getting started.
Another common mistake is to tell the speaker’s whole life history and professional experience, or the opposite approach that the speaker needs no introduction. Even a well-known individual needs a good introduction to prepare the way for his or her message. If the speaker must perform the legitimizing function because the introducer failed to do so, it takes away valuable time and is less effective than when presented by someone else.
You can work from the speaker’s BIO that should be obtained beforehand, but if you are having trouble finding the link between the speaker and the audience, call the individual and have a short conversation. This will likely provide the information you need.
Introductions should highlight the person’s experience and talents and should be complimentary to the speaker. Effective introductions often sound a lot like someone who’s introducing one of their friends to another friend. Mentally rehearse the introduction several times before presenting it.
Keep Introductions Short
Keep the introductions short—two to three minutes. Introductions can be shorter for informal situations and longer for more formal occasions or perhaps in the case of a speaker who’s likely to be controversial and whose credentials with the group need to be well established.
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