You’re going in front of an audience. Congratulations!
The first information the audience will hear about you happens before you even step onto the stage. It’s the introduction and it’s the first impression your listeners will have.
Here some tips for writing a great introduction.
Tip 1. Know What Your Introduction Needs to Say
Write your introduction with a mix of biographical information, context for your selection if necessary, and any other essential information about your piece. Put yourself in your listeners’ shoes and write it in a way that makes them curious.
Tip 2. Write It In the Third Person
In most cases, write 3 to 5 sentences, write in the third person, include the title, then type and print it out and bring it to the event, or send it to the coordinator.
Tip 3. Practice It Out Loud
Read your introduction aloud as though you are introducing someone else. Correct it for flow so you can hand over a script that is ready for the host to read verbatim.
Tip 4. Use the Introduction to Set Up the Theme of Your Reading
Your audience’s first impression begins with the introduction. Give them the tip of the iceberg and hint at what is below the surface. For example, if your reading was an essay about why it’s important to value individuality, the opening of your introduction could be, “Does being unconventional mean you could never fit in? Our first/next author says no.”
Tip 5. Start the Introduction Strongly
An intriguing question as in tip 4 is one way to start your introduction. Two other ways are to 1) make a strong or provocative statement and 2) use a quote (with attribution) that fits the content of your reading.
The opening “In our culture, people who stand out from the crowd can become the target of attacks.” is much stronger than “Our next speaker is Joe Smith.”
Following these practices will mean a strong start to your reading. And your host and your audience will really appreciate it.