as originally answered on Quora.com
Interesting question! Of the hundreds of speeches and presentations that I have delivered, I don’t think that I have ever delivered a speech, in the third person, about myself. As for writing self-promotional copy in the third person, yes, lots of it.
I think one of the initial challenges in creating this type of speech is that it is an uncomfortable topic for many of us. Certainly it is a topic that we know more about than any other person in the world, but actually saying it out loud and sharing it with others is challenging. It relies on a certain amount of assertiveness and self-confidence.
Many of us have been told from an early age that we shouldn’t talk about ourselves because nobody likes a bragger. I quite often refer to the quote from Walt Whitman, American Cowboy Poet “If you done it, it ain’t bragging!”
How you create your speech and the content that you include, depends on what your purpose is. Are you speaking to inform, are you speaking to entertain, are you speaking to promote yourself, or is this merely an exercise to get you thinking out of the box?
Let’s focus on the ‘how would you start off your introduction?’ First off, I’m not sure if you are confusing an introduction with your speech opening. They are very different. The introduction is where you prepare an introduction for your introducer to share with your audience. It should include details that cover who, why, what and how. Why are you speaking? What are you speaking about? Why should the audience listen to you or care about what you have to say? Your introducer is setting you up for success.
There will be times that you don’t have an introducer and have to fit it into your opening comments. This can tend to take away from your impact.
Your opening on the other hand, should immediately grab the audience’s attention and make them want to hear what you have to say. I’m fond of what Tom Antion, an American humour writer recommends about presentation openings “Wake em up, shake em up!”
I have been embracing self-promotion as of late and am writing a book on the subject. If your intent is to share with the world your unique talents, skills, beliefs and values, you can do so in a 3rd person speech about yourself. Once again, your self-confidence comes in to play.
Here is an example of an opening from my Linkedin profile. While not specifically written as an opening for a speech, I have certainly included it in many of my presentations. You will note that I am comfortable at using a tongue-in cheek style of delivery and am not afraid to laugh at myself.
“How many people can honestly say that they spent part of their formative years in a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane?
Rae can! True, he was working as a staff in the Dietary Department and was able to go home every evening at the end of his shift. Fortunately, that experience hasn’t had a lasting effect on him.
Over the past 35+ years Rae has been working as a Registered Nurse, predominantly in the field of mental health/psychiatric nursing. This has provided Rae with an in-depth understanding of human behaviour & psychology, which comes in handy for his creative and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Along his life journey he discovered Toastmasters, where he learned that the limitations we place upon ourselves are really only our own inhibitions preventing or perhaps protecting us from actions we aren’t ready to undertake.
Rae is driven by the creative process and is passionate about turning ideas into reality. As the District 21 Toastmasters District Governor (2007-2008) his theme was “Attitude = Altitude!” He promotes that belief everyday in every project he takes on. Ask him how he can help turn your idea into reality.
As an entrepreneur Rae believes in having multiple opportunities on the go.”
It goes on for a little more but I think you get the idea. Not many people would admit to being in a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane and likely don’t know anybody who actually has been. It works well as an attention grabber. More examples can be seen at https://ca.linkedin.com/in/raest…
So you opening comments should grab your audience’s attention and set them up for receiving the message that you want to share.
Good luck with your speech and thanks again for the question.
For further discussion of self-confidence, self-promotion and public speaking resources visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Assert Yourself! Harnessing the Power of Assertiveness in Your Career
Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals
The Power of Persuasion: Mastering the Art of Influence
Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.