The Best Speaker Introduction Ever
Very early in my speaking career, I was saying yes to every speaking opportunity. I had a J-O-B in marketing at the chamber of commerce, a great place to make a difference in the world -- or at least your own town.
Saying yes to every speaking engagement puts you in some pretty funny situations.
I'll never forget meeting an elderly gentleman, Warren, at the gym. I'm a basketball player and he's a swimmer. The only place we could possibly interact would be either in the lobby or in the locker room. I'm not a talker at the gym, but Warren had an innocent charm about him that was warm and kind.
Our lockers were in the same bay. Three days a week he would chat me up with questions like, "How are things at the City?" and "Tell me again what it is that you do at the Commerce Department?" Warren's questions are typical of those among the public who has no idea about what a chamber of commerce does, and who it is.
Over a period of about a year, Warren figured out my role and wondered if I would come and speak to his Lions Club. Warren was passionate about the work of the Lions and was constantly asking other locker-neighbors if they had or knew of any unused pairs of glasses that they could donate to the Lions.
This particular Lions Club was 15 people packed into a restaurant's back room designed to seat 8. I couldn't have been further from my comfort zone, as the average age of the room was at least 80. Finally, the introduction.
"Our speaker today is from the Chamber of Commerce. I met him in the locker room at the athletic club so this is the first time I've ever seen him with clothes on. Please welcome Kyle Sexton."
I would love to take Warren with me on the road to do that shtick every time I go on. I think of that introduction every time I get introduced and it makes me smile.
Last summer, I got to share the stage with Seth Godin. I wasn't going for an introduction as edgy as Warren's, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I'm even happier with Seth's latest work, What To Do When It's Your Turn (and it's always your turn).