I will introduce a well-known speaker who will give a lecture in his work in neurobiology in front of a large student audience. What is a good introduction and followup?

I have noticed people often give what I consider trivialities like the year he received his PhD degree and spend a long time listing their awards. I am planning to talk about his recent papers briefly, his areas of research, and just briefly mention his position now and who he worked with as a postdoc.

I would appreciate any input, particularly from profs on how they like to be introduced.

  • 2
    I'd like to be introduced as: "Ladies and gentlemen, here is the wonderful, the great, the magnificent... Massimo Ortolano!". I suspect, though, that I don't stand a chance for this :-) Aug 31, 2016 at 14:53
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    mostly, keep it short! Aug 31, 2016 at 15:06
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    @MassimoOrtolano If you change from Academia to stage magic and are very good in it ... you might. ;-) Aug 31, 2016 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


The long and boring introductions that you've noticed are probably due to people simply reading off the "speaker biography" paragraph that is typically included with a talk announcement. That, in turn, is usually prepared with little thought by the speaker, often by grabbing a recent bio blurb from a proposal or their website. Thus: boring list of dates and awards.

My personal preference is to ask the speaker how they would like to be introduced and to keep things quite short: any good speaker will begin their talk with a high-level perspective on their technical vision and work in any case.

  • But as older audience member, sometimes it is amusing to realize (from some of the dates and places) that one might have some overlap somewhere.
    – Carol
    Sep 2, 2016 at 1:01

I find TIQS very helpful here (found it online, Dale Carnegie Training I think, also recommend spending only 60 seconds for the introduction):

  1. T - The topic or title
  2. I - Importance to the audience
  3. Q - Qualification of the Speaker
  4. S - Speaker's Name

In general, have the audience in mind. They want to know that they are in the right place, hearing about an important topic (for them!), the person who presents is knowledgeable (key points, not a full CV!), and who that person is (name). So yeah, 60 seconds are a good guide.

Of course, it also depends on the context (you likely have to thank certain people, their contributions, esp. those "little green men and women" whose work you don't see as an audience member, or sponsors) and the speaker (what does this person want the audience to know about him/her).


The most important thing is to highlight what matters about the speaker and avoid the the long boring list.

  • Perhaps you could expand this a bit, saying what you think matters or how to go about finding that out?
    – jakebeal
    Aug 31, 2016 at 15:30

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