Friday, September 28, 2012

Famous Speech Friday: Fannie Lou Hamer's 1964 convention committee testimony

Now that the current U.S. political conventions have nominated their candidates for the next presidential election, this week's famous speech takes us back 48 years to another Democratic National Convention: The 1964 convention that Fannie Lou Hamer set on its ear.

A civil rights activist who'd faced jail, beatings that left her near dead and other kinds of violence in an effort to register to vote, Hamer at this convention was vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The party was challenging its state's all-white, anti-civil-rights delegation at the national Democratic convention. Hamer and other MFDP officials were invited to address the convention's credentials committee, and shared her personal efforts to register to vote, and the barriers thrown in her way. It's an unflinching testimony. She describes being jailed; how the police forced other black prisoners to take a blackjack and beat her, over and over; the hate speech hurled at her and other protestors; how bullets fired into a private home were meant for her on a night when many other blacks were killed; and more. Then she concludes:
Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?
The effort to seat the Freedom Democrats enraged then-President Lyndon Johnson, who had been made president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy; this would be his first actual election as president. It was feared that the Freedom Democrats would sway other southern states to break ranks and diminish support for Johnson, who went so far as to schedule a last-minute news conference to divert attention from the testimony. Several television networks carried it that evening, nonetheless. While Hamer was not seated at the 1964 convention, she succeeded four years later, becoming in 1968 the first African-American to be seated as an official national party convention delegate since Reconstruction, and the first woman to represent Mississippi at a convention. Here's what you can learn from this famous speech:
  • Atrocities don't need elaborate language: When your speaking is intended to serve as witness to something terrible, your language can simply describe what happened. No flowery adjectives and adverbs are needed; no effort to further make sense of the insensible is wanted. Plain language lets the terrible tale tell itself.
  • Take the listener from the low to the high: As horrifying as her testimony is, Hamer brings it back in that last paragraph to the noble ideals of democracy, a contrast so stark that it's almost like a slap in the face. She doesn't need to frame it for the listener any further.
  • Details and specifics make it real for the listener: As a witness, Hamer recounts names and dates, but also details that make an unreal-sounding situation concrete for the listener, from "the bus driver [who] was charged that day with driving a bus the wrong color" because he'd ferried the black protestors, to her cellmate who prayed while she was beaten.
You can read a transcript of Hamer's speech, and listen to it in the video below. It's also part of the great collection, Say It Plain: Live Recordings of the 20th Century's Great African-American Speeches: A Book-and-CD Set. What do you think of this famous speech?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When should speakers ask questions during Q&A? 6 options

You know the usual course of events: The speaker gives her presentation, there's applause, and then it's open for audience questions. But speakers don't have to limit themselves to the A in Q&A. In fact, I'd recommend judicious use of questions when these situations arise in news conferences, conference calls or standard presentations and speeches:
  1. To clarify a cryptic question: Let's face it: Most questions are brief efforts to encompass big issues. If you're not sure exactly what that audience member is asking, ask for more information. "That's a great question. Tell me more about what you're precisely asking so I can be sure to answer you."
  2. To smoke out a coded viewpoint: If your topic is controversial, or you suspect the questioner holds a particular view that she's not sharing, ask about questions when the viewpoint isn't clear. "Tell me why you ask the question in just that way" invites the questioner to explain more. It may be nothing, or you may learn just what you're walking into...before you answer.
  3. To encourage other questions and sharing: "I'm curious--how many of you have a story you could share about this issue?" or "Has anyone here seen what I'm talking about in action?" might help a shy questioner open up, by showing what they have in common with others in the audience.
  4. To focus your answer: If the question's so broad you could drive a truck through it, it might take too long to answer. In that case, feel free to lob a couple of narrowing-down questions: "Do you mean in the past year, or in all of history?" or "Are you most interested in men's responses to the survey or women's?" and similar queries can help you respond briefly and in focus.
  5. To learn more about the questioner: Maybe the question included specific jargon that's known mostly to specialists, or a political buzzword, or a word with multiple meanings. "Do you have experience with this issue you can share?" or "Have you done work yourself in this area?" help you--and the rest of the audience--understand whether you're fielding an expert's question.
  6. To defuse a leading question: "Sounds like you have an answer all ready to that one--do you?" lets a questioner who wants to lecture show her hand. Letting her explain also buys you time to respond in whatever way you choose. This works when it's obvious there's a viewpoint lurking, unlike the example in number 2, above.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Famous Speech Friday: Ai-jen Poo at the United States Social Forum

No offense to Barack Obama, but it's Ai-jen Poo who has been called the "rock star of community organizing." The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Poo turned her childhood respect for the tireless labor of her mother and grandmothers into a national movement to bring power to nannies, elder care workers, housekeepers and other domestic workers.

Poo does something that we think is one of the main goals of public speaking, especially for women: Giving a voice to those who don't have one. She is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of Caring Across Generations, a double dose of organizing with those who have traditionally lived on the economic and social fringes of America.

The famous speech that Poo delivered at the United States Social Forum in 2007 begins with the harrowing story of one of those unheard individuals--Marina, a housekeeper from Columbia working in New York City. Poo tells Marina's story in a few simple words, but it sets the tone for the rest of the speech to come. She starts with the hopelessness of the worker, then turns the hopelessness of the cause on its head: "Even though it's often said that it's impossible to organize domestic workers, we're doing it." This is a short speech with one explicit purpose, to announce the creation of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. But it holds many great strategies that you can use in your own speaking.
  • Let your audience see themselves. Poo has the difficult task of speaking on behalf of a group without really being part of that group. She's not a domestic worker, so how does she speak about their needs without sounding inauthentic? Some speakers, like Poo's labor forerunner Mother Jones, establish their bona fides with their audience by stressing shared experiences. Poo makes good use of another option by pausing to give her audience time to reply, cheer and stand up to be acknowledged. The rally atmosphere makes the speech more inclusive--less of a speech about the workers than a speech on their behalf.
  • Use the "power" of repetition. There's one word that Poo keeps returning to in this relatively short speech. It's "power"--spoken 13 times. It's the main point of the new organization, and the main demand of the workers. By repeating it so many times, Poo is leaving no doubt with her listeners about what the group's main goal will be. It's also a strong word that has the potential to fire up an audience. It's difficult to stay neutral when you hear it.
  • Expand your pool of listeners. Throughout the speech, Poo does a careful job of expanding her potential audience through connections in time and space. She tells her listeners the Atlanta venue is a reminder of the plight of African-American workers in the South from slavery to the present. She connects the cause of domestic workers in New York City with domestic workers around the world, the labor movement beyond domestic workers and the human impact of globalization. By the time she's finished, she's made the cause of the new alliance less of a niche concern and more of a struggle relevant to a broad cross-section of humanity.
You can listen to the audio of the speech here, and here's Poo speaking about the National Domestic Workers Alliance as part of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People of 2012."



Photo from the Institute for Policy Studies photostream on Flickr. This Famous Speech Friday post was written by regular contributor and freelance writer Becky Ham.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can you cry at work? 2 books explore the issue

Two books came across my path this month, both of them about crying--and both with data that women can use to better manage expressing themselves with tears at the office.

It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace takes a new approach to the issue of crying, using research to suggest that the office landscape may be more amenable to tears than has been previously thought.

Author Anne Kreamer, a former executive with Nickelodeon, starts with her own experience--and you'll find her opening story of getting screamed at by the chairman of her company's parent on a day when she'd scored her biggest success a heart-wrenching tale, and perhaps a familiar one. Here she describes her reaction at the end of that traumatic phone call:
The viciousness of the assault and the suddenness with which he ended it were breathtaking. In shock and frustration, having been too stunned and scared to defend myself, the tears that had begun to well up during the call spilled out, as I tried to process the information. Was I at fault? Had I done something wrong?...I was physically shaking with the anger that I felt but could not safely or appropriately express, and my body understood that I had to expel that anger somehow...so I cried. Bam! Just like that. In less than two minutes I'd gone from feeling on top of the world to feeling like scum on a pond--and worse, a specific pathetic subspecies, crying female scum.
At its base, this book describes an internal struggle about how we communicate in the workplace as women, a different form of "public speaking" that women often feel they need to hide, disguise or avoid. In an interview with Kreamer, Marketplace Money reported:
In her research, 41 percent of women reported they had cried at work during the past year and 9 percent of men. The surprising finding was that crying made no difference whatsoever in terms of a person's success; people at all levels of management reported crying on the job....Contrary to some expectations, male managers reported to Kreamer's survey they were fine with female employees crying. Kreamer found that it was actually female managers who were harsher against crying female employees.
Calling tears at the office "the check engine light on your dashboard," Kreamer suggests they're a signal of deeper issues that should prompt the question "what are they telling me?" (In her case, it led to a career change.) Her book includes not only survey data but a new take on the Myers-Briggs Indicators to help you determine how you handle tears and emotion at work. You can take a mini-version of the survey at the link.

The book Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond looks in more detail at the science behind our tears. This review on Brain Pickings blog shares a critical point from the book: Both laughing and crying:
....don't have an on-off switch....it's easier to prevent a bout of crying than to stop it once under way. Crying causes more crying...In fact, voluntary control has little to do with starting or stopping most crying or laughing.
Maybe that's why crying makes you feel so out-of-control -- perhaps we can sense that it's not easy to stop it once it starts, and understand the consequences.

Go here to listen to the Marketplace Money interview with Kreamer and read the related article here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Famous Speech Friday: Elisabeth Murdoch's lecture to the UK television industry

(Editor's note: Sydney-based speaker coach Claire Duffy alerted me to this tour de force in corporate speaking, and I asked her to write this assessment for our Friday series. Thanks, Claire!) When Elisabeth Murdoch delivered the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture in Edinburgh on August 23rd, she stepped up to the podium with a lot of baggage she may not have chosen to carry: her gender, her genes, and her business profile in the shadow of News International’s blazing and scandalous wrongdoings.

The MacTaggart is the headline performance at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, the biggest event in the UK television industry. It’s a special event, an opportunity for an insider to speak their mind to other insiders. The MacTaggart is famous as an occasion where speakers don't hold back. Anyone invited to do it knows they've been given a special platform, with an intimidating history.

In 2010, the then Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson described the ingredients of a "classic" MacTaggart: "First you need anger. If you can manage it, rage ….. Next you need a villain. If you study the best MacTaggarts, there's always a proper, black-hearted villain. Sometimes the villain is called Murdoch…. Finally – and this is the mark of true class – if you can, you should insult your audience."

Two Murdochs have given the MacTaggart lecture before Elisabeth, and each took the "insult the audience" approach. James Murdoch told them in 2009 that they were the "Addams family of world media."  20 years earlier, his father Rupert Murdoch "seized his opportunity to vent his frustration and anger on the British television establishment, attacking …class-ridden attitudes, museum-style costume drama…hostility to enterprise, and the elitism of its executives."

Elisabeth seems to understand all this. Her gift is to know what her audience will be thinking, and by confronting it, to get them on side.  She is measured, understated, and sometimes self-deprecating, but she has authority, and gives advice she wants them to heed. While diplomatic enough not to break ranks with her family, she is candid enough to set herself apart from them. It’s a well-executed and impressive example of someone retaining their integrity in a tight public spot.

Her introduction is blunt: the invitation is an honour and "a pain in the ass," one you can't decline, but you worry about. Half-seriously expressing her anxiety over what to wear leads her to an attack on the organisers for not inviting a woman to give the lecture once in the last seventeen years.  She reels off a list of female industry leaders who should have made the grade and chastises the committee for ignoring them. But then she moves on to the really big elephant in the room.

"Writing a MacTaggart has been quite a welcome distraction from some of the other nightmares much closer to home. Yes, you have met some of my family before." By squaring straight up to this, Murdoch disarms her audience and wins their allegiance for the talk to come.

Her personal story is the spine of her speech. Her love of television is intense. “It has been my friend, comfort, window to the world, a source of ideas emotions and experiences,” all of which shape who she is.  As a child, an outsider, TV helped her understand the culture she’d been transported to. As a teenager she could not stop watching  MTV. Of course, neither could most of the people in the room. She bonds with the audience by listing the shows they all grew up with, and praises that era of "socially and politically astute television" whose true purpose is to build human connections.

She is honest about her father’s help with her career, but there’s a refreshing reality to her description of starting work at Australia’s female-free Channel 9; followed by a stint as one of only two non-Mormons at Fox in Utah; time at BSkyB, when she couldn't understand what anybody said; and her decision at 26 to go out on her own, with her father’s skeptical support.

If you are not in the TV business, a lot of her speech may be bamboozling. But some of her messages have wider resonance: She believes in TVs power to enliven and enrich. Always put the audience first. A company needs an explicit statement of values based on a sense of purpose. It’s best to have investors with like minds – that’s why she sold Shine to News Corp (“I can hear you thinking ‘No Shit, Sherlock’”).

Towards the end of the speech she takes issue with what her brother James said in 2009, and this is what made the headlines. She disagrees with his attitude to the BBC, instead praising its openness to harnessing creativity.  Where he said the only reliable guarantor of independent news coverage was profit, she calls profit without purpose "a recipe for disaster." And she describes the "unsettling death of integrity across so many of our institutions," an obvious reference to News International, and to the politicians and police who are implicated in the phone hacking scandal. “The absence of purpose, or of a moral language within government, media or business, could become one of the most dangerous own goals for capitalism and for freedom."

Murdoch uses some homey homily. She says the industry spends too much time fighting over crumbs when "we should be baking a bigger cake."  She cites the Olympics, happening just a few weeks after the speech, as the best example of how collaboration and competition can co-exist, and says that is the industry embraced the mindset of the Olympians they’d be world champions in a digital age. She’s more compelling when she’s talking the intricacies of media strategy, because her true power is in her business experience, where we easily get the feeling she plays the game well.

Her speech was described by some as a pitch to be the heir to the family's empire. Listening to her presentation might or might not lead you to that conclusion.  What you will take away is the understanding that this is a businesswoman who knows what she’s doing.

What can speakers learn from Elisabeth Murdoch?
  • Acknowledge audience concerns. Candour begets trust. If landmines are lurking, or skeletons are hiding in cupboards, you can win the audience over by dealing frankly with them.  It’s better to be upfront than to leave obvious issues unaddressed. Murdoch does this professionally and tactfully, which saves embarrassment for everyone.
  • Decide how you want the audience to see you. Murdoch constructs a strong professional persona and supports it consistently throughout.  The line about what to wear is her only really personal remark. Her passion for her business is clear and stories from her life and career are only used to explain it. She acknowledges the help she got from being a Murdoch, but she takes credit for what she has done herself. She is respectful of others, and generously offers "lessons learned" for the good of the wider industry. 
  • Work with your setting. Murdoch gives a static presentation -- there’s no choice. It’s an hour of voice and voice alone, standing on one spot, a hard task for anyone. She’s a slow speaker, and deliberate. She sounds well rehearsed and she keeps the whole audience constantly under her gaze. There’s not a lot of scope for variety in this format but her gestures are limited and they become repetitive. It might have been a good idea to put her hands away altogether and gesture only when it assists with emphasizing or illustrating a point. I’d rather she were a little livelier and there was more variety and animation in her delivery, as it would offer some relief in what is a very long lecture.  However she certainly sounds authentic and that’s the most important thing of all.
You can read the full text of Murdoch's speech here, and watch it in the video below. What do you think of this famous speech?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

13 books on political speaking that are for, by or about women

It's an election year in the U.S., with plenty of women running for local, state and national elective office, and women's issues front and center for both campaigns. Time to update your bookshelf of political rhetoric to make sure it includes plenty of resources on and examples of women's political speeches. I've got a comprehensive list of historic lookbacks and contemporary books to get you ready, whether you aspire to public office, want to write the speeches, or just get inspired:
  1. Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton 'Won' in 2008 looks at Clinton's run for president through the lens of her speeches, from her YouTube candidacy announcement through the debates and stump speeches. Clinton's concession speech and her "women's rights are human rights" United Nations speech are both part of The Eloquent Woman Index.
  2. Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart looks at the public speaking of a political woman who was among the first to walk into the audience and adopt a more informal speaking style.
  3. Eloquence in an Electronic Age: The Transformation of Political Speechmaking is a classic by Kathleen Hall Jamieson. It looks in particular at the vice presidential debates when George H.W. Bush was running against Geraldine Ferraro to compare male and female political debate styles. You'll find especially useful her chapter on women and public speaking, an essential piece of reading if you want to understand why Jamieson says, "History has many themes. One of them is that women should be silent."
  4. Maria W. Stewart, America's First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches tells the tale of a political writer and speaker--the first black American to lecture in defense of women's rights, who did that in the early 19th century. Yes, the 19th century.
  5. Michelle Obama: Speeches on Life, Love, and American Values collects the speeches of the current First Lady of the U.S., up to early 2012.
  6. From Megaphones to Microphones: Speeches of American Women, 1920-1960 looks at the period in between U.S. women getting the vote and the "women's movement" of the 1970s, often overlooked, but rich with examples of notable women speakers.
  7. The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is collects the passionate words of this political and civil rights activist. (You'll see more about her in a Famous Speech Friday coming soon.)
  8. Two books, A Private Woman in Public Spaces: Barbara Jordan's Speeches on Ethics, Public Religion, and Law and Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder, focus on the rich public speaking career of this ground-breaking African-American Congresswoman, whose words and voice made her among the top political speakers of all time. Jordan's ground-breaking Democratic National Convention keynote is part of The Eloquent Woman Index.
  9. The Collected Speeches of Margaret Thatcher is a rarity--so the price is high. She stands as a great political orator, so you may want this for a reference shelf that many can share.
  10. With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women, the only collection of 19th-century black American women's speeches, focuses on a collection of brave voices, from Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth to lesser-known voices.
  11. Why Women Should Rule the World by former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers offers the perspective of a woman whose work involves highly visible and often extemporaneous public speaking in politics.
  12. Unbought and Unbossed: Expanded 40th Anniversary Edition celebrates Shirley Chisholm, a groundbreaker as an African-American member of Congress who also ran for president. Her fiery speaking style is analyzed by today's political observers in this anniversary edition.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Famous Speech Friday: Eleanor Roosevelt's 1940 convention-saving speech


Today, it's a must-do speech, so much so that it was lampooned this week by The Onion--but it turns out that the "wifely testimonial" is a recent addition to political conventions, pioneered by Barbara Bush at the 1992 Republican National Convention. Major speaking roles for the candidate's wife were non-existent at the conventions until then--except for one dramatic, last-minute, save-the-day speech given by Eleanor Roosevelt at the 1940 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

It was a tense convention. The country was on the brink of entering World War II. Her husband--who stayed away from this convention--had been nominated the night before for an unprecedented and controversial third term as president of the United States. FDR had been nominated on the first ballot, but then angered many delegates with his choice of liberal Henry Wallace as his vice-presidential candidate. Factions threatened withdrawal of their support, and FDR threatened his own withdrawal from the candidacy. Eleanor was dispatched to speak on behalf of the ticket, with less than a day's notice. Unlike today's testimonials, this speech was not full of FDR's better qualities, nor insights about his personal life. This was all  about getting and keeping the delegates' votes. First, she dealt with the unusual circumstances of the convention:
You cannot treat it as you would treat an ordinary nomination in an ordinary time. We people in the United States have got to realize today that we face a grave and serious situation. Therefore, this year the candidate who is the President of the United States cannot make a campaign in the usual sense of the word. He must be on his job.
She connected that situation to the larger world situation, in the most famous words of the speech:
We cannot tell from day to day what may come. This is no ordinary time. No time for weighing anything except what we can do best for the country as a whole, and that responsibility rests on each and every one of us as individuals.
Eleanor had long played a role as FDR's eyes, ears and presence as an emissary in public appearances he could not manage with his disability, giving frequent speeches. But none had as direct and dramatic effect as this impromptu assignment. This post on the speech from the FDR Library notes, "The effect of her words was transformative. A silence marked by respect and admiration followed her message, somberly and palpably shifting the atmosphere. Balloting began immediately after she sat down and the Convention went on to nominate  Henry A. Wallace to run alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 election."

Here's what you can learn from this famous speech:
  • Focus on your call to action:  Those of us who advise speakers talk about the call to action, but it comes into sharp focus at an event like this one. Roosevelt had just one purpose, to stay the revolt and turn it toward voting the nominees forward. So she kept her remarks single-minded, and they worked, ending with "No man who is a candidate or who is President can carry this situation alone," and the important task before the convention.
  • Respect the roles and speak for yourself: Roosevelt mentions just three people specifically in her remarks, honoring and delineating their roles. She thanks the party chairman in almost a full paragraph at the outset. She makes clear she is not speaking for the President, saying "I cannot possibly bring you a message from the President because he will give you his own message," in words that make it clear she is not usurping authority, but speaking for herself. And she reminds the listeners of the role of the President at an uncertain time.
  • Reflect the tension: Rather than shy away from the tension, Roosevelt reflected it back so the delegates knew she understood the situation of the day and its difficulties. She talks about the uncertainty of the convention, and ties it to the uncertainty of the nation and the world, and uses those tensions to make the case for action. 
With almost no time to craft and polish a speech, Eleanor Roosevelt gave her remarks with just a single page of notes, shown here in a photo from the FDR Library. As you can see, the words "This is no ordinary time," perhaps the most quoted, don't appear in the notes. Read her notes, then read the full remarks--which are much longer--here. What do you think of this famous speech?


(Photo: 1942 portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

10 secret advantages of the person who introduces the speaker

Especially around the time of political conventions, when coveted roles like the keynote are awarded to signal the future prospects of the speaker, I hear people say, "Oh, she only got to do the introduction." People think that in everyday conferences and meetings, too. But the person who introduces the main speaker isn't just an also-ran or second-best in the lineup. I'd vote any day for these secret advantages you get when you do the introduction:
  1. It's a great stepping stone in public speaking: If you're not ready for the keynote yourself, introducing the main speaker offers an easy way to get experience as a speaker. 
  2. You have the business end of the talk: From how to pronounce the speaker's name to what we should really know about her, some of the most vital facts to be conveyed are the most basic--and they are on your to-do list as the introducer. If you make sure we get them straight, the talk's already off to a good start.
  3. You can frame how we view the speech: If you choose to do so, your introduction can shape how we think about not just the speaker, but the significance of her words. Think of yourself as the Chief Context Setter, and you'll have the right idea. Does this come at an important time? Is there something we'll want to do immediately following this presentation? Can you help us see beyond her bio?
  4. You can say things the speaker can't: Has the speaker come under attack for what she's about to tell us? Has she gone unsung for her philanthropy or was she just hired by the most powerful firm in town? It's easier for the introducer to tell us those things than for the speaker to do so.
  5. You'll have the audience's attention at its peak: Speakers know that the audience's attention is as high as it will ever be at the very start--that's why speakers need a strong, fast start to hang on to that attention. But you, introducer, have the floor and the peak-level attention first.
  6. It's short: The longer the talk, the more that can go wrong, and the more experience you need to pull it off. Introductions, on the other hand, need to be short, and that's sweet. What's not to like about that?
  7. You can surprise the audience: Audiences have grown used to, and tired of, the standard "I'm just going to read the bio" introductions. You can take advantage of their low expectations and spice up the task of introducing the speaker, so that no one will be looking at her smartphone until you're done. 
  8. You can become the speaker's favorite person: Speakers yearn for a great introduction. Ideally, it warms up the audience better than any joke or cartoon, gets people to focus, and shares the best there is to know about her. If you pull off a great intro, you'll have that speaker's undying gratitude.
  9. The organizers will love you: They got the people here, but now someone needs to remind the audience why that was a worthwhile effort. A good, strong introduction can raise the audience's anticipation level, and make it feel from the start as if this is going to be a great speech. That's priceless at the box office and the back office.
  10. You can get the tweeting started: Don't forget that second audience outside the room and on Twitter. Live-tweeters in the audience use introduction time to set up what will follow. If you share little-known facts about the speaker or thoughts especially pertinent to today's talk when you do your introduction, you'll feature in the Twitterstream more prominently. And please: Don't forget the hashtag!