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How to Introduce a Guest/Keynote Speaker

Let's face it: you could have the best venue ever for this meeting with the best food and the best entertainment and you've figured out a way to get each and every potential attendee to confirm they're coming. But your Keynote Speaker can make or break this conference, and the brief introduction to this speaker should create the excitement in the room that you expect from that standing ovation once your Keynote Speaker drops the mic.

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HOW TO INTRODUCE A GUEST SPEAKER

At Rave Speakers, we’ve booked thousands of standing ovation speakers and we’ve been onsite to ensure the successful delivery of these great orators. And we’ve witnessed some memorable introductions. One that stands out is an event that Jackson Life Insurance did a few years ago at The Grand Ol Opry in Nashville for their top performing sales people. The introduction wasn’t a pre-produced video nor was it “the Voice of God”-it was Michael Buffer.

When Michael Buffer hit the stage in his famed tuxedo and the microphone came down from the ceiling above the lone spotlight on him, you honestly felt like you were sitting ringside at a Title Boxing Match that Michael is so well known for introducing. And then came these words:

“LET’S GET READY TO RUMMMMMMMMMMMBLE!!!!”

THAT was probably #1 on the All Time best way to properly introduce a speaker.

Imagine this: the stage is set, the audience is seated, and the spotlight is ready to shine on your guest speaker. The introduction acts as the drumroll, building the momentum and directing the audience’s attention to the main attraction. It’s not just a formality; it’s the first impression that can either spark interest or dampen enthusiasm. A meticulously prepared introduction serves as a warm handshake between your speaker and the audience, establishing a connection even before the first word of the actual presentation is spoken.

But it’s more than setting the stage for a smooth transition into the speaker’s presentation. Let’s delve into the heart of the matter: respect and welcome. Imagine being invited to share your knowledge, insights, and experiences with a group of eager listeners. The introduction is the initial gesture that shows the speaker their expertise and time are valued and respected. It’s a sign that the event organizers understand and appreciate the depth and significance of the speaker’s contributions to their field. A well-crafted introduction can boost the speaker’s confidence, making them feel truly seen and heard. This, in turn, fosters a sense of belonging and significance, creating an atmosphere charged with positivity and mutual respect.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE

Ah, your audience! They’re the sea of faces looking eagerly at the stage, the heartbeat of your event, and honestly, the main reason we’re all here. Knowing who is sitting in those chairs is key to making any part of your event a hit, especially when introducing your guest speaker. Let’s chit-chat about how you can tailor your introduction to match the vibe of your audience and why understanding them is like having a superpower.

TAILORING YOUR INTRODUCTION

Imagine you’re telling your best friend about a new game. You’d share it one way with them because you know what excites them. Now, if your grandma asked about the same game, you’d explain it differently, right? That’s exactly what tailoring your introduction is all about—matching it to who’s listening.

So, before the event, put on your detective hat. Who’s coming? Are they industry professionals craving technical details, or is this group new and looking for inspiring stories to spark their interest? For the tech wizards, you’d highlight the speaker’s innovative achievements or groundbreaking research. But for newcomers, maybe focus on the speaker’s journey, their challenges, and juicy, relatable stories. It’s all about serving the right dish for the palette in front of you.

WHY YOU SHOULD DO AUDIENCE ANALYSIS

Now, onto the superpower part—audience analysis. Understanding your audience isn’t just good manners; it’s strategy. Knowing the level of knowledge, interests, and even the hopes of your audience can transform a bland introduction into a magnetic pull, drawing them into what’s coming next with open minds and hearts.

Let’s break it down. Imagine hosting an event for budding entrepreneurs. You’ve done your homework and know they’re itching for real-life success stories, the nitty-gritty of starting a business, and maybe some epic fails too. So, when introducing a speaker who’s been through that rollercoaster, you emphasize those experiences. You’re not just speaking; you’re weaving a connection, setting the stage for a presentation that echoes directly with their current reality and dreams.

This analysis does wonders for engagement and attentiveness. When your audience hears something that resonates with them, something relevant to their life or goals, you’ve got their attention, no fireworks needed. They lean in, listen more carefully, and engage more fully because they feel seen and understood.

In essence, getting to know your audience—really digging into what makes them tick—is like getting the secret sauce recipe for your event’s success. It makes your introduction of the guest speaker not just information but a bridge, creating a connection that primes the audience for an attentive and engaged reception. So, let’s give them not just what they came for, but also what they didn’t even know they needed!

INTRODUCING YOUR CELEBRITY KEYNOTE SPEAKER

At Rave Speakers, we travel with NBA Legend and hugely popular business motivational speaker Magic Johnson to many of the corporate speaking engagements he does. Since everyone asks for the best introduction of Magic Johnson, he shares in advance of your meeting a 2-minute introduction video that is professionally produced with high-energy music and a voice over track that just gets your entire audience on their feet for Magic to then walk on stage. Most celebrity keynote speakers will have a pre-produced video like this. If not, your production team will no doubt be prepped with adequate video and photos of your keynote speaker to build your own short intro video.

SPEAKERS HAVE PROMO KITS FOR YOUR INTRODUCING USAGE

So the add-on of Michael Buffer isn’t in the budget this time around. That’s okay too! A Business keynote speaker who’s a bestselling author or an authority on a specific subject may not have a 2-minute intro video to play for your audience before they come on stage, but that speaker will have an Introduction that has already been written for you to use. It’s typically your meeting emcee or the executive who’s on stage tasked with the role of introducing that keynote speaker who’s going to read this likely from a teleprompter, but this will be a short and sweet pre-written piece that should check all of the boxes. And if it doesn’t, you can always feel free to ad lib.

A COUPLE OF MONTHS BEFORE YOUR MEETING

Many meeting planning professionals want to not only create excitement about their upcoming keynote speaker, but they need to best promote their keynote speaker to attract more attendees. One way to best accomplish this task is to have your speaker make a 30-second promotional video. “Hi there I’m Wharton Professor and bestselling author Adam Grant and I’ll be your keynote speaker on October 12th in Orlando. I’m sure looking forward to seeing you all at this year’s National Association of Realtors Convention!”

Any keynote speaker will agree to make this promo video, and it certainly can be tailored to your specific needs.

ONCE YOUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER TAKES THE STAGE

Be prepared to prep your keynote speaker in advance of the names of the key executives in the audience and especially the name of that person who just introduced the speaker. Those initial Thank You’s from the speaker once they take the stage carry alot of weight with this organization.

RAVE SPEAKERS WILL ASSIST WITH YOUR KEYNOTE SPEAKER’S INTRODUCTION

Should you have any questions or worries about this part of the meeting process, Rave Speakers’ Logistics team is here to help. Email us anytime at info@ravespeakers.com or text (310) 614-8653. Your meetings success is our only priority.

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