Toastmasters Tip: Two Powerful Techniques for Introducing a Speaker

by Allan Misch and Allan Kaufman

An introduction is a mini-speech that tells why the speaker is credible to speak on the subject that’s important to the audience. It should be brief and to the point. Usually the speaker will prepare a written introduction for you. If not, here are two methods for introducing a speaker.

The TIS Method

T… is for Topic

Tell the audience the subject and title of the presentation.

I… is for Importance

Tell the audience why the presentation is important to them—how they can benefit. Relate the topic to the audience.

S… is for Speaker

Tell the audience why the speaker is qualified to speak to them on the subject. Repeat the title of the presentation and finally, the speaker’s name. Turn towards the speaker and smile. In formal situations, applaud until the speaker reaches you, shake hands, then sit down. In informal situations, don’t applaud, sit down when the speaker rises and starts forward or follow the organization’s customary practice.

The Allan and Allan Way

Speaker Description & Qualifications

Give a brief description of the speaker and list those qualifications that relate to the subject to be presented. Use humor if appropriate.

Topic

Tell the audience the subject of the presentation, if it’s a manual speech, and the purpose of the speech.

Title

Mention the title of the speech.

Name of Speaker

End with the name of the speaker. This cues the speaker to come forward.

Some people mention the speaker’s name at the beginning and within the body of the introduction. This is okay. However, you build up the suspense by saving the speaker’s name for last. This also cues the speaker to come forward. If you do decide to mention the speaker’s name before the end, let the speaker know beforehand the last line of your introduction as a cue for coming forward.

Don’t be too funny or present a summary of the speaker’s presentation. Write the introduction; don’t rely on your memory. Don’t draw your audience’s attention to any negative conditions or put pressure on the speaker by setting an expectation that the speaker cannot live up to. Don’t say, “Without further ado….” or “Here’s a speaker who needs no introduction….”

Should You Write Your Own Introductions?

YES, YES, YES. That way, you are not surprised. It’s likely the person introducing you does not know how to effectively introduce a speaker. You should take control.

Write out your own introduction. Type it double-spaced, using a 14-point or 16-point typeface. Underline and/or bold words that should be emphasized.

Make about five copies of it. Send one in advance to the person who will be introducing you. Call up and make sure he (she) has received it and ask if he has any questions.

Take two more copies of your introduction with you to your presentation. Save at least one copy for your reference file. Sometimes the person will forget to bring with him your introduction or maybe at the last minute, someone else will be asked to introduce you. Always be prepared.

What Should You Put In Your Own Introduction?

It depends on the audience, your topic, and whether it’s an informal or formal presentation. Include your qualifications and some of your major accomplishments.

If you are giving a very short speech, say 5-10 minutes, you don’t need a very long introduction. If the audience knows you, you don’t need a long introduction.

If the environment is somewhat informal or you’re speaking before an audience that knows you keep it short, and you might want to throw in some humor. For example, when introducing a speaker at a Toastmasters local club meeting, this introduction was used.

Allan Kaufman Introduction

“Our speaker for this evening is well known throughout Toastmasters District 18. In fact, he’s in WHO’s WHO in District 18. Mention his name to anyone in District 18 and he or she will say “Who?…Who?”

His Toastmasters accomplishments are legendary and if you don’t know what they are, I’m sure he will be happy to tell you about them later.

I will tell you that he was one of only five Showcase Speakers at the Toastmasters International Convention in August, 1988.

Now he doesn’t want anyone to make a fuss over him—just treat him as you would any great man.

The title of his speech is “How to be Funny for Money.” Please help me give a dynamite welcome to Distinguished Toastmaster Allan Kaufman.”

The following illustrates how to prepare a concise, effective introduction using the T I S formula.

Allan Misch Introduction

“Our speaker, Allan Misch, believes that learning to be effective speakers can make us more successful. It can help us improve our bottom line. In other words, it can help us increase our income.

Allan is a principle in Allan and Allan, a communications consulting company.

He is an adjunct instructor at Howard Community College.

He gives seminars and workshops on speaking and on interpersonal communication strategies.

He’s written several published articles on speaking, and he co-hosts Speakeasy—a show about communications on Comcast Cable television.

Mr. Misch also is a member of Toastmasters International.

He has earned the title of ‘Distinguished Toastmaster’—the highest honor given by Toastmasters International.

Since 1924, only 5,000 members out of five million have been so honored.

So to speak to you on “Speak and Grow Rich,” please welcome Allan Misch.”

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©Allan Kaufman and Allan Misch, 2003-2013. All rights reserved. The authors give permission to reproduce this article; disseminate it; publish it in print, electronic form and on a website as long as it is not edited and carries the byline and contact information.

Allan and Allan are members of the Randallstown Network Toastmasters Club. They specialize in rapidly reducing public speaking fear and offer 4 valuable, complimentary videos on “10 Critical Strategies to Make Your Presentation Slides More Memorable” and public speaking tips in their complimentary No Sweat Speaking™ newsletter. Get it at http://www.nosweatspeaking.com.

More in this section: Toastmasters Tip: 14 Steps for Being an Outstanding Toastmaster of the Day | Toastmasters Tip: How to Look Good as a Toastmasters Table Topics Master | Toastmasters Tip: JOG to Win that Toastmasters Evaluation Contest | Toastmasters Tip: Seven Keys to a Successful Toastmasters Evaluation | Toastmasters Tip: Six Keys for a Winning Toastmasters Table Topics Presentation

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“If you are looking for a speech coach that will help you present with impact, Allan Kaufman is your man. He was my very first speech coach and mentor and I would not have won the World Championship of Public Speaking without him. He has more knowledge about public speaking than 99.9% of people who ever stood up to say anything and that knowledge will help you keep your audiences on the edge of their seats as you deliver messages that stick. Allan's goal is to help you exceed yours. I highly recommend him. (March 9, 2012)” — A