How to present a speaker

How to present a speaker – Grab the attention of the audience at your event

Delivering a speech or conference can be a daunting experience especially if you are not used to speaking in public. Likewise, being part of the organising team of a conference or symposium and having the reponsibility of  introducing one or more speakers can be equally important.  

There are many reasons why giving a good initial presentation will be important and will make a mark on the course of the event. In this article we will therefore help you to understand the importance of a good introduction of the speaker, together with advice and points to be considered in order to master the art of introducing a speaker.

Picture: Product School en Unsplash

The importance of introducing a speaker

The figure of the conference anchor or person responsible for introducing the speakers at a conference is not to be taken lightly. Even though there may be the temptation to feel that this person is merely there to introduce the headliner, the truth is that a good initial introduction can be important. Let us see how the introduction of a speaker can impact on the course of the event:

  • Establishing the tone of the introduction: Introducing someone means to a certain extent setting the tone of the event. This is done in several ways: with dialectics, aesthetics, mindset, tone of voice, volume. In one way or another, all questions relating to tone are a letter of introduction to the general spirit of the event. 
  • Introducing the speaker. Although the speaker will have time to introduce himself afterwards, the introduction of the speaker by a third party is the backdrop which defines the “Why“. Why is this person the one who is chosen to speak about this subject? What makes him important to be standing on the stage in front of the audience?   
  • Helping to create a connection with the audience. In a way, if the anchor person is capable of connecting the audience with the speaker, he transfers responsibility to him. 
  • Bolstering the conference as a brand. A good introduction and overall handling of the event will create a positive impression of the act and consequently of the brand or brands that are organising or supporting it. 

Advice for introducing a speaker

  • Maintain a positive attitude. The anchor is the first person who must have a contagiously  enthusiastic attitude. His way of transmitting his attitude on the stage must be one of exuding the idea that being there is worthwhile. The anchor person must be the prime motivator of the event.
  • Adapt the speech to the spirit of the event. The tone must be a unifying thread. Therefore, try to adapt the way you express yourself to that of the topic being dealt with by the speaker or more directly to the tone which the speaker will use.   
  • Research the speaker. As we said, the anchor is the prime motivator of the event… and of the speaker too. For this reason it is important to know him well: name, position, achievements… In addition, as he must adapt his tone to the general tone of the event and therefore to the speakers. He must also know the speaker´s style of expression by, for example, watching videos of his previous conferences.  
  • Speak about the merits and values of the speaker. Firstly, this is important because the audience has to understand why this speaker has been chosen to be there. Secondly, if you do not do this, then the speaker will have to highlight the value of his own work, which is always more awkward and less dignified.  
  • Try to find an emotive way to connect the speaker with the audience. This is usually achieved by using an anecdote or relevant story which defines him. This is an excellent way to personalise the introduction, generating a previous connection which paves the way for the speaker. 
  • Avoid being too effusive. As we said before, you must have a positive attitude but not exaggerate. Hyperbole will only create over expectation and will not favour our guest. 
  • Prepare a script. Improvising on stage requires a lot of experience, so it is important to have a script which allows us to say exactly what we want to say and also makes sure that we do not forget any important details. 
  • Practise the introduction. Just as you have prepared your script, try to rehearse so that it can be perfect. In this way you will not forget anything and your delivery will be better.
  • If the speaker needs you to follow a script, then do so. On occasions, the performance of our speaker takes us into account as the anchor person, linking our speech with his. He is the real protagonist. If he has a script which does not impinge on the spirit of the event, then help him.   
  • Be brief. The audience has attended the event to listen to the speakers, so you must realise that your role will always be a secondary one. Try to be concise in your introduction.  
  • Do not disclose anything. It is the job of the speaker to decide the timings of what his narrative will tell, the way in which this will be done and the order that the information will be presented. If you know the content of the presentation do not give anything away. 
  • Thank the speaker and the audience for their time and attention. If your role also includes a closing speech, try to follow the previous points and do not forget to thank the public and the speakers for attending.The event would not have been possible without them.

Examples of a presentation to a speaker

Let us now look at an example of what the script of a presentation to a speaker might look like:

Good morning everyone! First of all, I would like to thank you all for coming to this auditorium which, given the high demand we have had from professionals like yourselves who wanted to be here today, seems to have become too small.

Today we are fortunate to have a very special guest. Together with his team, he has already developed more than 50 applications with 1,200,000 downloads in more than 80 countries.

He is Ángel Cases Llopis, a passionate and creative professional who has dedicated his career to developing applications that make our lives easier. Ángel is an expert in his field, and his new app is a proof of that. We are convinced that it will change, in some way, the way many of us shop on Amazon.

But in addition to his professional achievements, Angel is a friendly and committed person, always willing to help and share his knowledge with others. I am sure his presentation will be as exciting as it is interesting, and that we will all leave here with a new perspective on how we can use technology to improve our lives.

Without further ado, I leave you with Ángel Cases Llopis – enjoy the presentation!