Public Speaking Tips

Speaker introduction

I’ve been working with a client who is preparing for an important speech. One of the things we discussed is the protocol of introducing someone. Many speakers are unaware of proper speaking protocol, so I thought I’d share some tips.

When you introduce a speaker you want to give a good introduction with an opening, body and closing. It is a bit like a mini-speech. The opening should get the audience’s attention and state the importance of the upcoming subject.

The body should cover:

  • Why this subject
  • Why this speaker
  • Why this audience
  • Why at this time

The conclusion should allow the speaker to begin his or her presentation. When you have ended your introduction, or anytime you have finished a speech, you never leave the lectern or stage empty, unless you are the closing speaker. You always wait until the speaker gets to the lectern; then shake their hand and exit the lectern.

A point of clarification; many people use the term “podium” to describe the “lectern.” A lectern is what holds your notes or your laptop and often has a microphone. A podium is a small platform for speakers or orchestra conductors. A lectern can sit on a podium or a table.

Another common mistake I see is people leaning over and speaking directly into a microphone that is not adjustable. Many hotels and venues have these types of microphones. It is designed to amplify your voice even though it doesn’t come right to your mouth. Just stand tall and speak normally and it will pick up your voice. If you lean over and speak directly into it you will be too loud and you’ll look silly.

One last thing; did you know that EVERYONE, including professional speakers get nervous before they speak? It’s normal and natural. The key is to use that nervousness so that it’s energy and not disabling. How do you do that? Well, that’s a whole other blog post. But the one thing that will help you most is practice, practice, practice.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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