BULLETPROOF INTRODUCTIONS… Bo in the trenches / by Bo Gerard

A bad introduction can do more harm than good.

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The introduction you get is an essential part of your show’s success, and a good one can energize and focus your audience.  So, it’s up to you to do everything you can to get a good one.  Over the years I have fine-tuned the process and I believe I have as bulletproof a system as you can get.  Not that things still don’t go wrong.

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First and foremost, you absolutely must get someone from the company or facility to intro you, if possible.  And the more people in your audience that know this person, the better.  This is ideal, because then you are being welcomed as a special guest by someone inside the organization.  That is a great leg up.  But it takes work to make this happen.  First, you have to ask your contact if someone would be willing to do the intro.  Now, most people are not crazy about speaking in front of a large group, so based on their comfort level, you might have to encourage and coach them a bit.  You may even have to edit your prepared intro to suit them.

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That brings up the intro.  It should be printed in a large font, on white paper, and all the words should be easy to pronounce.  And don’t try to insert any humor into the intro.  (You’d be surprised how some people can butcher a perfectly good comic line.)  Keep the intro short and interesting. 

If you want them to build vocal intensity toward the end, here’s a trick I developed - make that font larger.  On my intro, “Ladies & Gentlemen’ is a little larger than the preceding sentence, “the Seriously Funny Magic” is larger still, and “BO GERARD” is even larger and in caps.  Stand with your introducer as they look your sheet over, to see if they have any questions.  Then let them know where you will be waiting, prior to the show, and point out your cell number on the top of the page.  Let them know they can call you anytime between now and the showtime, for any reason at all.

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Next to the cell number put these words, “Please give (your name) a verbal 5-minute warning before introducing him.  (This one is from hard experience.)  Even with all of these clear instructions, many of them will forget and start introducing you without warning you, so be ready and waiting, within sight of the stage, 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Sounds like a lot of work for an intro, but BOY is it worth it!  If you can make it happen, your show will get off on the best foot possible.

Then of course, the rest is up to you!