Successful seminars are built on an abundance of details. In my opinion, the first impression — your introduction to the audience — is the most important detail and also the most overlooked. A well-executed introduction can open the minds of your audience and set the tone for a fun, interactive learning experience. A poor introduction can make the event something the audience will “suffer through” until they get their free meals and leave, never to be heard from again.
The introduction should open with a detailed overview of the night, including the length of the presentation, a request that cell phones are silenced, directions to the restroom, the importance of taking notes and asking questions, and a reminder of the great meal to come. Setting proper expectations in the beginning will save your audience from getting lost along the way. It’s also important that the announcer create interest and build you up; they shouldn’t just read from a bio sheet.
The introduction should be no longer than 10 minutes. Remember, the guests have an entire seminar to listen to and a meal to eat. Be respectful of their time.
Who should give the introduction?
• A current client – “I was once in a chair just like you, and now I’m up here to tell you about my experience.”
• A strategic business partner – “I’ve chosen to partner with our presenter because of X, Y, and Z, and they are an essential partner to the success of my business.”
• A member of your staff – “I love my job because…”
Who should NOT give the introduction?
It’s best practice not to introduce yourself. The importance of having an announcer is to get the audience excited about what’s to come and to be a trusted third party.
The person you choose to do your introduction should mention the highlights of your career, emotions or reactions of some of your happy clients, and a little personal information or anecdote about you. This is the opportunity to have them get to know you as a person. The introduction should be a fun, interesting, and engaging story, not a list of accomplishments. Always remember that prospects do business with people they like. Once this is accomplished, the M.C. should lead the audience in applause as you come to the front of the room.