Our 3-month stay in Siena, Italy is now half over. As each morning dawns, I know my sunrise views of this tower are numbered. This extreme awareness of the passing of time has made me take advantage of every moment: If I have an inkling I want to visit someone or someplace, I buy a ticket or text, "What about tonight?" I don't have time to waste.
None of us has time to waste, especially as we step in front of a crowd who's eagerly awaiting our talk, presentation or reading. You'll never have your audience's attention as fully as you do right as you begin. They're in a heightened state of attentiveness and then...
...someone introduces you by stumbling through a reading of your overly-long bio. So, by the time you take the stage, your audience has wilted. What can you do to avoid crushing their natural excitement?
Write your own introduction
Don't leave your introduction up to your host. They have enough to do. Write an introduction that's an appetizer, designed to be a nibble that whets the appetite. Here are some guidelines:
Make it short.
Mention only a few of your most relevant and exciting achievements.
Tease your presentation: What burning question will you answer? What problem will you solve? What mystery will you untangle?
Remember that it's not a sales pitch, it's a warm-up act, designed to heighten the anticipation your audience already has.
Have you ever experienced a great introduction either as an audience member or presenter? If so, what did the host do and say that worked? I'd love to hear!