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Why it’s important to introduce a speaker well

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of

Even before you start speaking to an external audience, you should know that good introductions are crucial to effective speeches and presentations because an audience assesses the caliber of a speaker right from the start. A rule of thumb suggests that an audience’s assessment of a speaker is largely formed in the first 30 seconds of a talk. You can get those 30 seconds off to a good start by a good introduction.

Create the right atmosphere for a speaker to be well received by the audience from the start through a good introduction. It is remarkable how many hosts ramble when they introduce a speaker – they give their life history. In fact, words of introduction are fumbled more than any other aspects of a speech because the host doesn’t know how to do it well.

Maximum impact comes from a concise introduction, when the audience is told why the speaker was invited. This approach cuts out the fumbling background information that is given in many introductions. The safest approach for an introduction is to write a script, as below, to give or even to mail to the host organization beforehand.

The recommended way to make the introduction of a speaker is:

  1. Be brief. It’s not necessary to speak for more than one minute – preferably less

  2. Speak informally – as you would to good friends.

  3. Be enthusiastic about your task. Make your introduction sparkle. You owe it to the person you are introducing and to your audience to be animated in your brief talk. Act as though it is a real privilege to introduce this speaker – feel happy about it – talk with real excitement.

  4. Above all, be warm and sincere.

Here is a proven TIS formula to use for one-minute introductions:

Topic Firstly, speak of the topic, giving the exact title of the talk.
Importance Tell the audience why this topic is important to them.
Speaker Tell the audience your speaker’s qualifications. As the final two or three words of your introduction, give the speaker’s name. Be sure to say it clearly and distinctly.


Imagine you are due to introduce John Smith, a certified public accountant, as speaker at a business lunch. You can use the formula to introduce him or you can write out this script using the TIS formula for the host to introduce him. The host can’t go wrong with this (unless he or she reads it verbatim in a clumsy way!):

T (Topic) “Today we are here to listen to this talk on ‘How to avoid the mistakes of unsuccessful businesses.”
I (Importance) In its latest business survey last month, the Bureau of Statistics reported that unsuccessful businesses fail for three main reasons. Since we are all business people, we are eager to learn how we can avoid these three pitfalls and ensure our businesses remain viable.”
S (Speaker) “Our speaker has had a distinguished career in accounting. Seven of his articles have been published in The Accounting Review and The Journal of Accounting Practice, and he is on the board of the National Institute of Chartered Accountants. He has studied the Bureau’s report and has some important advice for us today.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome [pause]:


If there is a succession of speakers at, for instance, a seminar, you can adapt the formula to introduce later speakers along these lines:


“The topic of our next speaker is…."
I This topic is important/of great interest to us because ...

“Our speaker has great depth of experience in this field because …” etc.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome …



About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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