How to Write a Biography for a Speaker Introduction
Speaker introductions should be short, informative and interesting. In 60 seconds or less, you must convey the most essential facts about your speaker, without too much hyperbole and without revealing too much of what the speaker is going to say. It’s important to do some research beforehand and to have all the basic facts of the speaker's life available before you begin writing the introduction.
Your purpose is to grab the attention of the audience and motivate them to listen to what your speaker is about to say. First, gather basic information from the speaker, and learn what she wants the audience to know about her. This can include her birthplace, where she grew up, something about her family circumstances, her hobbies, her education and her accomplishments. If possible, get a copy of the speaker’s resume. Note the important features and transitions while preparing. Make sure you know how to pronounce the speaker’s name correctly and that you know the speaker’s correct title.
Next, learn about the subject of the speech. Will there be personal information or a professional presentation? Is the speech designed to sell or persuade the audience? Learn some inside information, so you can interest the audience with a little-known or intriguing fact.
Learn something about the audience. Where do they come from, and why will they be here? Are they seeking general information or learning something specific? Are they professionals, peers and colleagues of the speaker, or outsiders? Do they want to be entertained, or simply informed? Knowing this will help you craft an appropriate introduction.
After writing out your introduction, practice it in front of a mirror or an audience of friends or colleagues. Also use a tape recorder, play back your words, and note any improvements you can make in inflection or vocabulary. You should sound interested and intrigued by what the speaker is about to say.
Note the key words, phrases and facts of your introduction on an index card. After you’ve practiced several times, you should have the introduction more or less memorized. The index card will just provide a handy prompt. Whatever you do, don’t appear to be reading from a script.
Build suspense by saving the speaker's name for the end of your introduction. Avoid cliched phrases and jokes. To avoid boring the audience, don't recite long lists of jobs, titles and awards.
Don't speak for more than a minute. Your job is to raise interest in the main event, not to entertain the audience yourself.
- Build suspense by saving the speaker's name for the end of your introduction.
- Avoid cliched phrases and jokes.
- Don't speak for more than a minute. Your job is to raise interest in the main event, not to entertain the audience yourself.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.