As a professional speaker and facilitator for over 20 years, I’ve been introduced more than a thousand times, by countless meeting planners, conference organizers, and team leaders. Nevertheless, most of the introductions have fallen into one of four categories:
Goldilocks would have a field day with my 11-year-old twins. Their chairs, their beds, and their oatmeal are just right, but their communication styles can be extreme. My daughter Sophie tends to be very straightforward and direct, employing a miser’s economy of words. “How was your day?” is answered with “Fine”—full stop. If I want more, I’m going to have to work for it.
When I was a sophomore at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), my friends Wendy, Dave, Tom, Matt, Mike and I founded the school’s first improvisational comedy troupe. We had performed sketch and stand-up comedy before this – where everything was scripted – so changing our approach from a prepared routine to extemporaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, created in the moment comedy was a big shift for us.
If you’ve ever sat in the audience and listened to a speaker whom you didn’t trust, chances are you felt defensive, dismissive, or even insulted. You probably rolled your eyes, crossed your arms, bounced your leg and sent a range of body language signals that you weren’t having it. You likely tuned him out—and even walked out of the meeting early.
“Introducing…Another Boring Speaker”
In the next two weeks, I will be a keynote speaker at the American Heart Association’s annual conference, as well as a breakout session speaker at the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association conference. In both cases, I’ve sent my speaker introduction ahead of time as requested – and in both cases, I’m praying for the best (which includes reminding the MC that my last name sounds like “Regal”, not “Rye-gull”).
I partnered with Harvard Business Review for a Live presentation on giving and receiving feedback effectively.
Play the video to learn about:
The benefits and challenges of giving feedback
How to know when it’s the right time to give feedback
Debunking the infamous “feedback sandwich”
The 5 elements of a feedback conversation