) Presented Before Each Presentation!
An audience attends events to learn something. They rightfully want great value for the time and money they are investing to sit in on a presentation. They like to watch and listen to Speakers who are Experts on a subject.
The question sometimes arises, “Why is this person making a presentation? What is their expertise? What education and experience gives them the right to talk on this topic?” They want to know your Credentials!
Many people know a little bit about a lot of topics, but have in-depth knowledge and expertise in only a few subjects. Would you prefer to listen to a presentation on flight from ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’ airline captain, “Sully” Sullenberger, or a rookie who just completed flight school training? (One of the challenges of the internet is anyone can write and speak about any topic they choose, and we don’t always know what they know about the subject.)
Speaker Credibility is why the Speaker’s Introduction or Expertise Statement is an important and integral part of a presentation.
Think about visits to attorneys, accountants, doctors and other professionals. In their offices, plaques are hanging that give them credibility. Their degrees, awards, articles about or written by them, and other signs of expertise are prominently displayed. When you see those credentials, you immediately feel you’re dealing with an Expert and someone you can trust, correct? When investing time and money, there is usually a degree of anxiety. Trust reduces anxiety.
When speaking to an audience, there is no “Credentials Wall.” Your expertise may be detailed in the event program and in promotional information. However, many “Speaking Opportunities” don’t utilize those materials. Even if they are used, they are often not read or remembered. This is why your presentations should always be preceded by a great Introduction or Expertise Statement. These, for the audience, will create that unseen “Credentials Wall.”
The Introduction or Expertise Statement is not your bio. It is a statement of your credentials and gives the speaker the authority to address the topic the audience has come to learn about. No one cares where you went to school, how many kids you have, and that you collect butterflies.
Let’s address the Introduction first. It should answer Three Questions:
- Why this Subject?
- Why this Speaker?
- Why Now?
The Introduction should be like the king’s trumpeters announcing his highness is on his way, and build anticipation for the presentation. The emcee should conclude the Introduction by leading the audience in applause and saying, “Help me welcome ______!” Your audience should be PUMPED!
It is the speaker’s responsibility to write their Introduction, and not a place to be modest. Give reasons you have the expertise to address your topic. The audience wants to know you are an authority who will teach them new things.
When the emcee says great things about you, it’s like a third party endorsement. They will be happy you took the task of composing it out of their hands. They should read it as if they wrote it. Get them a copy long before the event, highlight words and sentences to be emphasized, and even insert the word (P-a-u-s-e) where appropriate. Let them know how important it is to your presentation and suggest they practice before the date, communicating with you if there are any questions. Remind them: they will be the center of attention for the audience when doing this. It is their “Speaking Opportunity!” and a chance to be in the spotlight. Finally, bring an extra copy to the venue in case the emcee forgot their’s or there is a substitute host.
There are, however, times you’ll have a “Speaking Opportunity” when you will be Introducing Yourself.
It could be a presentation, workshop, or class. It may be a situation where the host was a no-show and you, by default, must introduce yourself. In a class or workshop, it is you and the attendees. There is no “master of ceremonies” for the event, so you take charge from the get-go.
Don’t start a workshop, class, or presentation without either having someone introduce you using your formal Introduction, or introduce yourself with an Expertise Statement. Your audience must know why you have the authority to speak on the topic you’re addressing. This is important!
The Expertise Statement is a hybrid between the Elevator Speech and Introduction.
Here is the template.
Expertise Statement Template
This is who I am and why you can trust me on this topic.
Always greet your audience.
- “Good morning!”
- “Welcome to _______!”
“I am Your Name.”
Why am I here?
Your position / duty / title.
Why are you here?
This focuses the audience.
Use verbiage like the following:
- “You are attending this event / workshop / seminar because this topic is important to you. You want to learn something new and valuable. Correct?”
- “You could be, and probably should be, wondering, “What authority / expertise do I have to speak about this topic / facilitate this workshop.”
- “Because you’re investing time and money, you deserve an answer.”
Give the audience facts that verify you are an Expert.
It should specific information relevant to your topic.
It must be data that can be fact-checked.
It can include:
- Owner, Vice President, Director of Operations.
- Features written about you, or those you’ve written.
- Books by, or about, you.
- Media exposure.
- Years in Business.
- Specific Business Accomplishments.
- Adjectives such as: best, largest, oldest, most widely distributed, world renowned.
“Let’s get started!”
Here is an Example:
I’m Fred Miller, and I’ll be your instructor for this class.
We’re going to talk about Public Speaking and Presentation Skills today.
This is important to everyone in this room because:
“Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
That is my mantra. No one ever challenges that statement. Why would they?
I’m the person to speak about this subject. Here’s why:
I speak, coach, and write about Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.
I’ve authored several books on Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.
My first book, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” is selling internationally and over 1000 copies per year.
I was in Toastmasters for over twenty years and am a past president of my club.
I’ve had the privilege of conducting many workshops and addressing 1000s of people over the last few years.
I know this subject.”
Delivering the Introduction and Expertise Statements
The Introduction and Expertise Statement are mini-presentations. The components of each are Content and Delivery. Content is the message; Delivery is presenting that message to the audience. As is the case with all talks, Delivery trumps Content.
All the verbal and nonverbal elements of delivering an Introduction or Expertise Statement are important to having the audience GET IT! Whichever it is, and whoever is doing the speaking, it’s an important and an integral part of the presentation.
It has already been pointed out the Introduction should be delivered by the emcee as if they wrote it. The task should not be taken lightly. They should practice this mini-presentation several times before the event. Delivering it makes them the center of attention and puts them in a leadership position.
The Expertise Statement is the speaker introducing themselves. Delivery takes on a different dimension. It should spoken with ‘confidence in your competence,’ and not come across to the audience as bragging. The words should be spoken as a network news anchor would read them. The speaker is delivering facts and data that speak for themselves.
Follow the above guidelines and the next time you are introduced, or introduce yourself, this part of your presentation will be – NO SWEAT!
For More Presentation Tips go to http://www.youtube.com/fredemiller
For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts:
An elevator Speech Template and an Elevator Speech Worksheet
To receive them, go to:
About the Author
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book,
“No Sweat Public Speaking!”
Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their
Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.
They do this because they know:
Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
They also know:
We perceive really great speakers to be Experts.
Perception is reality, and we like to work with Experts.
He shows them how to:
Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with –
- Keynote Speaker
- Workshop Facilitator
- Breakout Sessions
- Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching
- Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!
- Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!
- Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.
- We are All Self-Employed!