How to Introduce a Speaker

Don't throw your speaker under the bus by delivering a poor introduction.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #86

How to Introduce a Speaker

An introduction can make a HUGE difference in the outcome of a presentation. I’ve experienced good introductions, bad introductions, and one time, believe it or not, no introduction at all! So, in this two-part episode (at a reader’s request), I am going to cover how to properly create and deliver a speaker introduction.

What’s the Purpose of the Speaker Introduction?

First, I think it’s important to talk about the purpose of a speaker introduction. Every introduction has three goals:

  • get attention

  • spark interest

  • build anticipation

If an introduction is done well, the audience is not only open and receptive to the speaker, they are also on the edge of their seats with excitement and anticipation.

What Should You Say When Introducing a Speaker?

In essence, the speaker introduction clearly and briefly suggests why this particular speaker is uniquely qualified to talk about this particular topic to this particular audience. It’s important to keep in mind that whatever you say must be relevant to all three criteria: the speaker, the topic, and the audience. 

What Shouldn’t You Say in a Speaker Introduction?

To be crystal clear, don’t include information about the speaker that doesn’t help build credibility for this particular topic or isn’t of interest to this particular audience. The intro should not be a long list of the all of the accomplishments, awards, and experiences of the speaker. It also shouldn’t be a summary of the speaker’s presentation. And for sure, it should not be a dreadful word-for-word reading of the resume-like bio that was probably included in the program booklet!

Again, the speaker intro should be a sincere, warm, and energetic description of why this audience should be excited about this presentation from this speaker. 


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.