Speaking engagements have become standard practice for many businesses. Whether it is a 10-minute presentation at the local Chamber of Commerce meeting or a TED Talk, start your presentation off properly with a solid self-introduction. Although a self-introduction must provide meaningful credential information, it should also captivate your audience. Don't ignore professional standards when presenting a creative self-introduction.
Find the Creative Angle
Find a creative angle that works for you. Using jokes or other personal anecdotes are commonly used as introduction methods, and these remain strong opportunities for creative engagement when done appropriately. This means you are telling your audience information that's not just relevant to yourself and your topic, but also keeping the content, like a joke, clean and appropriate for the audience.
Grab Their Attention
While icebreakers are generally reserved for team meetings and team building, it is possible to use an icebreaker to start a presentation if it smoothly leads into the topic. For example, a presentation about overcoming limiting self-beliefs might start with having the audience members stand and touch their toes, then incorporate a tip or trick to help them reach further on a second attempt. This is a creative way to get everyone's blood flowing, capture their attention and segue into your experience and concepts about overcoming mindset limits.
Everyone believes they know themselves. Let's see how true that is. Everyone get up. Come on, join in. Now everyone touch your toes. That went about as well as you expected, right? OK, now everyone take three deep breaths, let a breath out, and touch your toes again. How many people went further this time?
Show Your Human Side
Find a unique way to relate to your audience. Speaking about a pet is something easily relatable. Perhaps show a picture of your pets and ask the audience to share their pet's names. This engages the audience by hitting a positive trigger topic.
Loyalty is crucial in any business. You know how many people learn about loyalty? From their first pet when they were a child. I've still got mine. This is Wilbur, my cocker spaniel. Yeah, I know, weird name. Anyone else got a pet with a funny name?
Dress the Part
Always dress appropriately when making a presentation to any group. This doesn't always mean a suit and tie, but don't show up in dirty or wrinkled clothing. It is possible to be a bit creative with your attire. For example, assume you regularly speak at local business venues. If you always wear a short-sleeved button-downed shirt with a green bow tie, audience members will recognize you immediately upon taking the stage.
This tactic becomes part of a speaker's persona. While your attire isn't discussed in the introduction, it nevertheless becomes part of the introduction by creating your unique reputation. Audience members might remember you and continue to refer to the "green bow-tie guy."
Deliver the Introduction
An old school of thought is to tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then tell it to them, and then summarize by telling them what you just told them. This method can stagnate messaging even though repetition helps the audience remember the concepts. When it comes to self-introductions, avoid saying you "want to tell a story that you just remembered" or that you "have a great joke." Just delve into the content. Don't warn people because it sometimes leads to a preconceived judgment, such as, "Oh, not another joke."
Speak slowly during the introduction and don't list your education or experience. Ask the audience a question to find common ground. For example, "Do we have any Los Angeles natives in the room?" Then offer how your life and Los Angeles are related. This bonds a speaker with his audience.