When you give a presentation, you're not always the first person the audience will see. There's usually someone else who introduces you. If that person is a good speaker, and knows the facts about you, you're off to a good start. But that's not always the case. So get off on the right foot: Write your own introduction.
Your introduction is the first thing your audience hears about you and your first chance to make an impression. Professional speakers known for a personal style don't leave these crucial first words in the hands of others. An introduction you write yourself (for someone else to deliver) warms up the audience, lists appropriate qualifications, and acts as a bridge that lets you cross over directly into your speech. And if you write it yourself, you know it will be accurate. Many a speaker has had to begin a speech by correcting a biographical flaw in an introduction written by someone who did not carefully check the facts.
There are still risks when you write your own introduction—someone may mess up the humor you're trying to insert, or even mispronounce something—but you reduce the chance of mistakes if you provide the text yourself.
Always send your introduction in advance with a note saying that it ties into your speech and should be read as is. You can leave some space for your presenter to add something if he or she wishes; just indicate the best place for this. Type the introduction in caps and double-space it so it's easy to read. Make it short and to the point. A standard introduction includes these four points and not much more: your name and title, your qualifications, why the speech can benefit the audience, and why you've been asked to speak. When you list your qualifications, name only the best three or four examples, or the ones that pertain to that particular audience.
Here's a sample self-introduction written by Joel Weldon, a well-known speaker.
Our speaker this morning is Joel Weldon. His subject is titled, "Elephants Don't Bite: It's the Little Things That Get You." Joel comes to us from Scottsdale, Arizona, where he heads up his own personal development company. In the past six years, he has conducted over 1,000 seminars and workshops for some of America's top organizations.
The reason we have him here today is because of his unique ability to help successful speakers become even more successful. He's creative and fun to listen to. And his unusual business card tells you, "Success comes in cans, not in cannots." Speaking on "Elephants Don't Bite: It's the Little Things That Get You," help me welcome Joel Weldon.
That's an introduction that does a lot: It's short, simple, and vivid.