Having the right introduction when you are the featured speaker at a meeting sets the tone and atmosphere for your presentation. The purpose of an introduction is to gain the audience’s attention. The audience may have just come from listening to another speaker on a totally different topic, or they may be in the middle of an interesting conversation with a friend. The right introduction will put the focus on you!
A secondary purpose is to motivate the audience to listen. Just because the audience is there, doesn’t mean that they are ready to listen. Let them know “What’s in it for me” – narrow the gap between the audience and the stage with your introduction.
How is a good introduction organized? Introductions fuse three elements: the subject, the audience and the speaker. As the speaker, you put into your introduction what you would like to emphasize or what you think is relevant. Write out your introduction. Practice it for timing. You want it to sound natural and enthusiastic. Reduce your written introduction to a few key words and phrases, shooting for about one minute of information. Transfer it, in large font, to a sheet of paper.
1. Include your name and how to pronounce it. If it is an unusual name, help the audience learn it. “It rhymes with…”
2. Put in your title or position.
3. Be brief, aim for about one minute. Three minutes max! Five minutes is too long.
4. Include the speech title and make sure your description matches the title given.
Additionally, be sure your introduction answers these questions. Why this subject… this audience… at this time? Use the “miniskirt rule” for introductions – It should be short enough to be interesting, and long enough to cover the subject! One minute is a gracious amount of time and plenty for most people. You can qualify anyone in 60 seconds. Too much data and their attention wanders.
One way to build intimacy with an audience is to relate something of a personal nature, a little known fact, or a special talent, relationship, or community service. For example, “What you may not know about this evening’s speaker is…” The goal is to make your speaker introduction short, informative and interesting!
Want to know what happens to people who spend their whole lives dreaming about fame and fortune, reading about others’ success and accomplishments, and following a who’s who of the influential elite in the hope that some of their magic will rub off them?
Not a whole lot. Dreaming, reading, and following will get you nowhere. The only way to achieve any of that stuff is by doing.
If you fit the above description, you’ve essentially got two options. You can keep doing what you’ve been doing and end up poor and bitter, or open your eyes, change your behavior, and get out and make something of yourself, while there’s still time.
Judging by the demographics of Entrepreneur’s audience (your average age is actually 45), at least half of you still have time to change your ways. Maybe this will be your wakeup call.
Look, it’s fine to want to be successful, but success is not a goal; it’s an outcome of a lifetime of hard work and perseverance. It comes from years of education and experience developing an expertise and learning how things work. It comes from pursuing opportunities, building relationships, making smart choices, being disciplined, and focusing on what matters. It comes from hard-fought wins and gut-wrenching losses.
If you’re starting to get the picture that it’s a long, hard road to achieve such a lofty outcome, then you’re getting closer to the truth. And the truth is that you’ll never become rich and famous by obsessing over becoming rich and famous. You’ll only get there by focusing on the here and now. You have to work on accomplishing one thing at time in real time.
Now I bet some of you are thinking that it’s good to have goals to shoot for and that learning what worked for others will help you get there. That may be true, but for goals to be effective, they have to be far more practical and specific than that. And none of the popular click-bait content will tell you what it really takes to make it big.
This is how success happens in the real world:
1. First, your parents teach you about work ethic, personal accountability, and making smart choices.
2. Then you go to school, get an education, and learn the basics about a field of study.
3. You go out and get a job (hopefully in your field but maybe not yet) and learn how the real world works, how companies work, how business works, and most of all, how people work.
4. Over time, you develop some expertise, build relationships, gain exposure to new opportunities, and figure out what you really enjoy doing, so that’s what you decide to focus on. Most of all, you learn from experience and others.
5. You face lots of hurdles – some you overcome while others trip you up. You learn lessons from gut-wrenching defeats and gain confidence from exciting victories. And through it all you work hard, compete, and stick with it.
6. If you make smart decisions and follow a path that’s right for you, in time, you’ll do some great work and achieve some big things. And one day you’ll look back, realize you did pretty well for yourself, and feel good about it. Then you’ll get back to work.
It doesn’t always work exactly like that – we all end up screwing up and maybe repeating a step or two – but for the most part, that’s what success looks like in the real world. In one form or another, this is what everyone who gets anywhere in life goes through to get there.
Notice that nowhere does it say anything about screwing around reading silly self-help-style books and blogs, posting dumb quotes on social media, following self-proclaimed “influencers,” or wasting precious time with popular fads about leadership, entrepreneurship, or the personal habits of millionaires.
Now, don’t get me wrong: We all have our moments, we all have our weaknesses, and we all make mistakes. Just don’t make it a habit. And, of course, we all need to have fun and have a life. But nowhere is it written that your work can’t also be fun. Nowhere does it say that your work can’t be a big part of what makes your life worth living.
We all have the potential for a fulfilling life, but only if we get out and live it. And the same goes for your work. So quit dreaming and start doing.
The holiday season is a time of rushing — to buy gifts, finalize plans with family and friends and rush to meet yearly goals. Despite all this running around, I believe December presents a great opportunity to reflect, slow down, step back and get refreshed and ready for the year to come.
As work slows down, the holiday season can give entrepreneurs more time to focus, reflect and recharge. Here are a few ways to embrace the holiday season this year.
1. Embrace the slower work space.
During the holidays, employees and customers tend to adopt a holiday mindset and take time to relax. This is the perfect time to also take a much-needed break and de-stress from the busy year.
A lighter schedule also brings opportunities to better connect with colleagues. Treat hard-working teams to lunch or happy hour, and enjoy office festivities. Finally, genuinely relax and have a good time with your team. Talk with employees about subjects other than work. Forget the stress and never-ending to-do lists, and allow for time to slow down and enjoy the season.
2. Step back.
The clock is ticking, and there are likely still unmet annual goals. Business leaders are driving themselves crazy trying to reach quotas at the last minute. But instead of trying to make up for lost time, you might simply reflect on the results from this past year. Take a step back and look at the whole picture. Which goals were reached? How? Why were unmet goals not achieved?
Analyze strategies used during the year to see what worked and what needs improvement. Then set new goals and create a plan for how they will be achieved. Use this analysis to determine which strategies will be the most successful and which new tactics should be tried.
3. See loved ones.
Use this time to get together with family and friends, and enjoy the season. Stress can easily dominate thoughts even outside of work. And it’s difficult to let go of work concerns with a phone constantly buzzing with emails and calls, and a computer or tablet within reach.
Leave work behind and disconnect from technology to focus on time with loved ones.
4. Participate in giving.
The holiday season is a time of giving, and more organizations are getting in the spirit. In a poll published by SHRM in November, 82 percent of HR professionals surveyed said their organizations were participating in charitable donations and drives at the end of the year and during the holiday season, up from 74 percent in 2012.
So, get into the holiday spirit and give back! Take up collections for toy and coat drives, give money to a local family in need or donate to other community causes. Take it a step further and participate in service events and projects. Serve holiday meals at a shelter or find other activities and events that resonate with the company mission and values.
Generosity brings happiness to both the receiver and the giver, so partake!
How do you embrace the holiday season? Let us know in the comments!