I attended a lecture at the Arsenal for the Arts last night. The speaker was a nationally known quilter with works of unique art in very prestigious shows. I felt her pain as her laptop was not cooperating with the electronics in the facility. One very kind, giving quilter in the audience loaned her computer to the speaker and the crisis was averted. This type of kindness always surprises, but I don’t think it should.
When the Introducer got up in front of an audience of about 150 people, she said, “Our speaker tonight is _____________and she hates introductions.” Then the speaker started her talk with justifying why she hates introductions. She said that the audience really doesn’t need to know if she is married, has children or pets.
As a Toastmaster, I felt sad for the speaker. I see an introduction as an important part of any speech. It is the opportunity to connect with the audience.
As the night went on, I learned that this speaker loves words. Her career, before retirement and quilting was as a journalist. She spent many years with words. He talk was fascinating in how she connected her love of words with her quilting. She journals about the quilt she is about to make. Then she makes a quilt. Then she asks herself 4 questions and journals her answers. She makes the next quilt in her series by reflecting on her answers and making a new choice. I don’t want to give away her talk, so I’ll stop there.
If she could just read my blog, she may change her tune about introductions and use just the right words to entice people beyond the quilted eye candy slide that stayed up way too long. She had to hit the refresh button several times.
I guess this was so intriguing to me because tomorrow I am giving a talk on the importance of a good introduction. I see an introduction as a way of getting the audience into the right mindset. It can have a statement or two which add to the speakers authority on the subject matter. Written properly, it can start the talk off with audience members at the edge of their seats and hanging on every word.
A good introduction shouldn’t steal thunder from your speech, but connect with the audience so you both can enjoy the ride.
Please think about writing a good introduction next time you invite a speaker to your function.