Introduce effectively for impact

Deadpool opening

How does every James Bond movie start?

Right in the middle of the action, right? Bullets are flying, he’s parachuting into a moving convertible, etc.If you saw a recent movie

If you saw a recent superhero movie called Deadpool, it exemplifies this action movie start perfectly. I’ve never followed comic books too much, so I didn’t know this guy’s backstory, and I didn’t need to. The movie just grabbed my attention right off the bat, and then spent three-fourths of the movie giving me the backstory on how we got to that scene.

Too many speakers waste valuable minutes getting ready to speak. Forget that. In most situations, someone else has already introduced you. The audience knows who you are. You don’t need to waste valuable time talking about the weather, commenting on the drive in, saying how glad you are to be there, or joking about the introducer. Before they take their attention elsewhere, grab the audience.

Don’t get ready to speak. Speak.

An introduction does one of four things, and the more of them it does, the more impact it will have. An introduction:

  • Gets the attention and interest of the audience for the topic.
  • Establishes rapport between the speaker and the audience.
  • Orients them to what they are about to hear.
  • Sets the tone for the speech.

The first thing out of your mouth must already be working on these. Don’t tell a joke that has nothing to do with your topic. Don’t ask a question unless it truly does one of these things. Don’t announce the topic—that may seem as if it will orient them to what they’re about to hear, but in many cases it can actually turn them away (“I’d like to talk to you today about life insurance”….Zzzzzz.)

The ideal is to start with a story. It’s not the only way, but it’s a way that will almost certainly work, and will address each of the four purposes of an introduction.

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with individuals and organizations who want to forge top-notch communication skills to increase their influence and impact. He is associate professor of speech and journalism at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.