When you are asked to speak at a conference, fundraiser, or special event, it’s your turn to dazzle the assembled audience. Unless they know you, they are curious about who you are and what you have to offer. They are about to indulge you with their undivided attention, and they’d like to understand the context in which they should listen. Are they prepared for a subject matter expert, a motivational piece or a comedian? How will you be introduced? You decide!

If you allow the emcee the freedom to wing-it, you do so at your own risk. They may fail to memorize your bio, or improvise and share unwanted details. Before your event begins, find out who will introduce you, and tell them you have written your introduction and would like them to read it verbatim. If you don’t do this, they may over-share, try to be funny, or fail to set a proper stage for you. The results of their performance will unfairly fall on your shoulders.

People don’t need to hear about your passion for the game of golf, or your spouse and “three wonderful children.” Keep it simple and pertinent. The final sentence should read, “Please join me in welcoming . . .” which asks for applause and provides you with a “soundtrack” as you walk to the center of attention. This harnesses the attention of the audience and enables you to do your best work.

Writing your own introduction is an easy step, and makes a world of difference if you’re looking for a smooth “take-off” for your well-rehearsed presentation.

–Ken Lodi