Typing Toastmasters Speech Introduction
A well constructed speech introduction gets the audience excited for the topic and speaker. Poor introductions inspire the audience to look at the agenda to see who’s coming up…later.

Demand the attention from your audience by producing an introduction that keeps the audience in suspense and whets their appetite to focus on your speech. Here are five steps to do that.

  1. Put yourself in the place of the Toastmaster – The Toastmaster of the Day (the MC or Master of Ceremonies) may not get the opportunity to read your introduction…until your introduction time occurs. Plan your introduction around this very likely possibility. Use 20 point font and have two line spaces after each full sentence.

  2. Start off with “Our next speaker” – Most Toastmasters clubs do not announce order of speaker until the agenda is distributed at the beginning of the meeting. If you have three speakers, like we do at the George Sutton club, you have a good chance of being in the second or third slot than in the first. So, start your intro assuming you will be the second or third speaker by using “Our next speaker…” Once you see the agenda at the meeting, manually change your introduction to “Our FIRST speaker…” if you wind up being in the first slot.

  3. Stake your claim – Your audience wants to know your premise immediately. Provide it in your first sentence. For example, “Our first speaker believes there’s a benefit to having constant rain in Denver until June…”

  4. Add a twist – Continuing with the example above, “Our next speaker believes there’s a benefit to having constant rain in Denver until June that not even the meteorologists will tell you about.”

  5. Add humor – I’m going to say having humor is optional in an introduction, but sometimes, it can be very helpful to drive home a point and get people to really pay attention. Humor in an introduction has to be very quick though, because you’re relying on the delivery skill of the Toastmaster to read your humor. Long drawn-out stories with humor do not usually work, unless you have a very skilled MC at the helm. So, continuing with the example:
    “Our next speaker believes there’s a benefit to having constant rain in Denver until June that not even the meteriorologists will tell you about. No, sorry Marty, it doesn’t mean the ski season will be longer next year.”

  6. State your objective and time – Your audience needs to know what objective from the Toastmasters manual you are working through. That way, experienced members will know what to watch for. Stating the manual objective number, manual title and timing also helps visitors to understand that Toastmasters is a program, not just a place everyone gathers at to blabber-on at the front of the room without direction. Continuing with the example:
    “Using the objectives of speech #5 from the Competent Communicator manual, he will explore the use of vocal variety over the next 5-7 minutes to reveal the secret you’ve been wanting to know about this mysterious benefit of rain.
    Notice that I threw in another tantalizer that a “secret will be revealed.”

  7. Now state your speech title – Finally, you’ve built-up momentum with your premise that it’s time to unveil your speech title.
    “With his speech titled, You Won’t Need Boots to Cross This River,”….
    Speech titles are extremely important. Getting creative with them is fun, but be careful not to go too far into the creative zone for your speech title. It needs to make sense. If you’re new to writing speech titles, I’d suggest sticking with what works by starting with “How to….” or “3 Steps to…”
    Creativity and exciting titles will come later.

  8. End with the speaker’s name – The last step in the introduction process is not really to get your name out there finally. No speech is every about YOU. Your goal is to be welcomed by the audience…so that your audience has mentally opened their minds to receive your message.
    “Please help me welcome, [Your Name Here].”

  9. Print your introduction – The final step in the introduction preparation process is to type your introduction and email it to the Toastmaster…PLUS, print your introduction and put it in the front seat of your car. Why do I suggest you make a copy for yourself? Because the Toastmaster just might forget to check his or her email or print your introduction or bring the introduction to the meeting. Always make a copy for yourself and stick it into your car so that YOU don’t forget it too.

To sum all of this up, consider your introduction to be one of the most important parts of your speech. It can either set a positive and fun tone for the speech or a poorly-written one can set a negative and dull mood as well. Hold off on having your name announced until the end of the intro as suggested in another post about introductions. Build up excitement throughout the introduction. Let the members and guests know your objective. Then, open them up by asking for a warm welcome. Follow these steps and watch your audience receive your message in a whole new light.