TIQS: Effectively introducing a speaker (in person or virtually)

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of speeches ranging from the ho-hum to the incredibly inspirational. Regardless of the quality of the speeches themselves, one thing that is fairly consistent is the quality — or lack thereof — of the speaker introductions. Many are too long or too short. All too often, the name of the speaker is mispronounced. Sometimes the introducer comes across as bored or not even interested in the speaker and speech that is about to take place. Finally, this short speech is looked at as unimportant and read with a bit of disinterest.

In today’s world where many, if not most introductions are done virtually, this issue has become even more noticeable.

When you think about it, the purpose of the speech of introduction is fundamentally the same as a social introduction. The goal is to establish a common bond, a bond of interest between the speaker and the audience. At the end of the introduction, the audience should be looking forward to what they are about to hear, and the speaker should feel they have been properly introduced.

From The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie: “An introduction — that term was fashioned from two Latin words, intro, to the inside, and ducere, to lead — ought to lead us into the inside of the topic sufficiently to make us want to hear it discussed. It ought to lead us to the inside facts regarding the speaker, facts that demonstrate his/her fitness for discussing this particular topic. In other words, an introduction ought to “sell” the topic to the audience and it ought to “sell” the speaker. And it ought to do these things in the briefest amount of time possible.”

The formula that gets this done most effectively is the TIQS formula:

  • T stands for Topic. Always start the introduction by giving the exact title of the speaker’s talk, as given to you by the speaker. Do not get creative here.
  • I stands for Importance. Identify why this particular topic is important or of interest to the specific audience. This critical step creates a bridge between the topic and the interests of the audience.
  • Q stands for Qualifications. In this step you list the speaker’s qualifications to speak on the topic being presented. The qualifications mentioned should establish the speaker’s credibility.
  • S stands for Speaker. Finally, saving the best for last and giving the speaker a proper send-off, you give the speaker’s name, distinctly, clearly, with positive energy, and correctly pronounced.

Here is an example of this process for a talk I gave to a group of managers in La Crosse just before COVID hit:

Leader as motivator!

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Our speaker holds an M.S. degree in adult education from the University of Wisconsin and brings over 30 years of management, sales, marketing, and consulting to the business community. Over the past 25 years with Dale Carnegie, he has worked with hundreds of companies in building their teams. A select few of the southwestern Wisconsin companies who use Carnegie Training to build their teams include: Kwik Trip, Wieser Brothers, Trane Company, Culver’s Frozen Custard, and Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations.

Please welcome the president of Dale Carnegie Training in southwestern Wisconsin: Terry Siebert.

As you will note above, this was a prepared introduction that I gave to my introducer in advance. I strongly suggest doing this. Give them the introduction that you would like to have read. Do not give them a four-page bio; the introduction above is less than a minute. Finally, and this should be obvious, follow the formula with enthusiasm and sincerity.

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