Responses from your audiences will tell you how well you are doing. Not necessarily the outcomes you want but their comments will reflect the quality of the meeting so you can improve the next time. If appropriate you could even have an evaluation form or seek oral feedback at the end of the meeting. This can be done in a manner which will produce honest feedback. Carefully crafted questions are another way to elicit genuine feedback.
Most good speakers can introduce themselves effectively and open up their audience’s listening. However when someone else introduces speakers they too can set the scene for the speaker. It also provides an opportunity for the speaker to observe the type of audience in front of them, because every audience has their own unique characteristics.
The style and length of introduction will depend on the type of meeting, the number of people and the time allowed for the speaker plus the length of the meeting.
The objective of an introduction is to open up the audience’s listening and emphasise the subject of the speaker in relation to the meetings purpose. Research tells us people tend to prefer knowing what is happening and where they are heading to. They are not so happy with surprises or being led blindly.
Many meetings of the kind held by organisations such as The UnFranchise Business fail to do this and consequently do not achieve as much as desired.
It is paramount that every audience is monitored to ensure that their attention is not lost. At any time you can cause an interrupt that will get things back on track providing you are aware when this occurs. It doesn’t have to be the speaker and you can have one or two people monitoring the audience just for this.
An introduction to a speaker should include the following depending on the size of the meeting and the known connectivity of the people attending:
- Welcome to this meeting about or on . . . . . . . . Reminding the audience why they are there
- Who you are and why you are introducing the speaker
- Something about the speaker that connects the speaker to the audience and vice versa
- Something about the speaker that makes them human
- Something about the speaker that gives them the right to speak to them
It is well know that people fear speaking in public more than anything else. Even accomplished performers struggle with this fear and try a multitude of cures often to no avail. You can work through this and learn to be a confident speaker even if the fear persists. You have to practice and it is up to you. When you get it right the results make it all worthwhile. However just know that the fear doesn’t necessarily go away. You have to learn t live with them.