What Makes a Good Introduction?Posted: October 17, 2013
When did you last witness a good introduction?
Was it on television, on Stage or maybe something you heard on the Radio?
More importantly, what was it which made it good, what made it memorable?
Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients which go into the making and the delivery of a memorable introduction. we will also look at some of the basic issues which surround introductions and some of the obstacles which can prevent your introduction from being as good as it could be.
I’m currently working with a group of around a hundred DJs around the country and much of what is written here is taken from my work with them.
Your Voice and Microphone are not enough!
It is a well-known fact that people only take in ten percent of the spoken word. That statistic is also dependent on you gaining the full attention of the person [s] you are speaking to. It you are trying to communicate to a room full of people, and you do not have their undivided attention, your introduction will be ineffective and you will find yourself having to make repeated announcements in order to achieve your objective.
When making an Introduction you should always start with your objective in mind. What is it you wish your Introduction to achieve? I would suggest you envision the outcome of your objective and then work back from that point in order to establish a sequence of events which will result in your objective being achieved.
let’s say our objective is to have a room full of people standing, clapping and cheering when you announce a Bride and Bridegroom into the room.
We now know our objective, next we need to think of all of the things which could prevent this from happening and also look at some things which will make the introduction different, exciting, enthusiastic, emotional and energetic.
Making a good introduction is similar to telling a good joke. It needs to be set up, the content should grab your attention and the punch line should be delivered with confidence. Timing is also important when telling a joke. The delivery needs to paced just right and your vocal inflection will enhance the end result.
Unfortunately many DJs and poorly trained venue staff rely solely on the very basic ingredients when they make an introduction. They will often repeat a tried and tested, and often tired, method of making an introduction. usually this involves clinking a spoon on a glass, or banging a gavel on a table to get people’s attention, followed by a very simple one-line introduction. “ladies and Gentlemen please be upstanding and welcome your Bride and Groom”
Is there anything wrong with this introduction – no, not really. Could it be done differently and have a greater impact – yes, most definitely.
So what do we need to consider when making introductions.
I’m indebted to my two Industry colleagues, Mark Ferrell and Todd Mitchem for their advice on this subject. You will find links to their web sites at the foot of this article.
It may surprise you that where you make the announcement / Introduction from is most important. Every room has a focal point. This is the point where your eyes are drawn to instinctively whenever you enter a room for the first time. this focal point in some rooms may be fixed and is created by a structure like a fireplace or a recess / alcove. However in modern featureless rooms the focal point will change based upon the way the room is dressed and items placed within it. At a wedding the focal point is usually the “The Top Table” or The wedding Cake or the Dance floor.
Establish the Focal Point before you make your introduction.
Ideally you should make your important announcements from the focal point and not from your DJ stand or booth. This will mean you will need a wireless microphone and some method of controlling the volume level of your music remotely. This could mean using an assistant, having a remote handset or a method of introduction which allows you to move freely from the focal point back to your booth when required. [Staging]
Set up the introduction.
If, as in this example the intention is to introduce a bride and groom into the room this is not the time to introduce yourself. It’s a good idea to have already warmed-up your audience and gained their attention. I would strongly recommend that you introduce yourself at least ten minutes before you are due to introduce the guests of honour. This will help you establish the audience’s attention, build a rapport with them and use the focal point to your advantage.
News at ten method.
Todd also demonstrates that using what I call the news at ten method really helps you achieve your goal. If you watch the beginning few minutes of News At Ten you will notice that the first thing they do is tell you about what they are going to tell you about later in the show. So in our situation it’s a good idea to tell people what is about to happen. Instruct them as to where the bride and groom will enter and explain what they, the bride and groom, are expecting to happen when they make their entrance. It’s also a good idea at this moment to get some kind of moral committment from the audience that they agree to do what is expected of them, ie, stand, cheers, clap etc.
Use all of the senses that you can.
Remember the voice alone may not be enough. You may need to use either an energetic piece of music to generate some energy into the room. Likewise you may wish to use a softer more romantic piece of music to add emotion into the introduction. On the other hand it may be a good idea to drop any music which may have been playing and use the power of silence just prior to making your introduction.
Lighting can also be employed for more dramatic effect. If you are able to suddenly flip the lighting colour of the room as you step into the focal point people will naturally stop what they are doing and look around. If you have dmx moving heads you may be able to produce a spotlight into the focal point or the point where the bride and groom are about to enter.
Choose your words carefully.
This is not a time for you to show off your “microphone Voice” or the inane “patter” some DJs are renowned for. This introduction should be short, sharp and to the point. introducing a bride and groom into the room is all about them and not you. Verbally less is more. In order to achieve your objective you need to think ahead and only use words which are succinct and relevant. Try to refrain from over use of “Filler” words like, “OK”, All Right”, “Now then”, “Please”, “Erm”, etc.
Most importantly think every introduction through well in advance and make each one different. Write what you intend to say down on paper, or enter into your Ipad [ other brands are available. Lol] and then rehearse what you intend to say. Strike out any words which are redundant. refine your introduction until you are comfortable with the content and it sits on your tongue with ease.
Personalise your Introduction.
At the very least your introduction should include the first and last names of your bride and groom. If they have chosen a particular piece of music to enter into, you may need to make reference to it, or use its energy when you deliver the introduction.
Here is a recent example of an introduction I did at an outdoor event in Cyprus.
The Reception was held in a garden next to the waterfront and there were about 150 guests. The tables were spread around an area about half the size of a football field. There was no obvious focal point as the top table was positioned in one corner and the whole area was dominated by a stage prepared for the Band which was opposite where the top table was. I decided that most people would look to the stage as that was where any amplified sound would come from, and therefore chose to make my Introduction from the leading edge of the dance floor, which was positioned in front of the stage and was roughly in the centre of the field.
Previously everyone had attended a drinks reception over to my left in another area. The Bride and groom had gone off for sunset photographs and would be back shortly although I had no idea where to my left they would be appearing. Only my wife knew this and she would make sure they entered at the right time and from the right place. They had chosen a piece of music by “Pink” called “Raise your Glass” and the idea was to make the introduction and time it so that they entered exactly as the words “Raise your Glass” were uttered. This is thirty-seven seconds into the song.
This is how i did it.
Sound engineer had the track and started to play it.
I had a radio microphone with auto voice override enabled on the sound desk and walked to the leading edge of the dance floor
The music has an energetic beat so my introduction was paced and timed to fit with the beat.
“ladies and Gentlemen” [wait for their attention and then add}
“This is the moment we have been waiting for” [ wait again as the music level increases]
“Everybody, stand up, and Clap your hands to the beat of the music”. [ Wait for people to do as instructed while i start clapping my hands above my head]
“Direct your attention to my left where we have just come from”
“And welcome Jo and Fi, the new Mr and Mrs Stamataris”
Needless to say the whole area was filed with people standing clapping and applauding as my B&G entered just as the lines “Raise your Glass” were heard over the sound system and people quickly picked up their glasses and started raising them in the air.
Job done – objective achieved.
I’d like to thank all of the talented, experienced and open-minded DJs who attended my workshops recently. If you would like to join us for a more in-depth look at how your introductions can be improved please visit the web site.
Thanks for reading, feel free to post your comments in the usual way.
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