For concise, precise advice on introductions, look no further than Richard C. Borden's 1935 classic Public Speaking as Listeners Like It. Here, collected and condensed, are the author's inimitable insights:
- Avoid all stale and stilted phrases such as: "It is indeed an honor. . .a man who needs no introduction."
- Don't embarrass the speaker with extravagant promises of oratorical brilliance.
- Don't exaggerate your speaker's qualifications.
- Don't give the speaker false starts like "and so I take great pleasure in introducing Ms. Paula Prolix [Ms. Prolix stands up]. . .a woman who is eminently qualified..." [Ms. Prolix sits back down.]
- Don't try to steal the show by showing off your own speaking chops.
There's more to a great speech of introduction, however, than simply avoiding missteps. Answer these four simple questions briefly and skillfully, and you will create a pleasant harmony between subject, audience, occasion, and speaker:
- Why this subject?
- Why this subject before this audience?
- Why this subject before this audience at this time?
- Why this subject before this audience at this time by this speaker?