Introductions While Hosting a Small Church Group in a Parish Hall reception or setting
by Edgar Oliva
(San Dimas CA. USA)
Church for Public Speaking, Photo by Sam Segar
Q. After the mass, we are serving refreshments at our parish hall - I may be hosting by starting a small speech by thanking everyone who made went out of their way to the Christmas Advent Mass, despite their tight schedule.
I want to project a warm and hospitable attitude while speaking in front of people talking.
How do I make this sound smooth and short and less stressful, make it an acknowledgment of these people who made it?
I may also be introducing a singing group - I need your thoughts on making the intro not sound too corny yet interesting enough for them to stick around and listen for more.
A. Hi Edgar,
That's a great question: how do you start off, make people feel comfortable, acknowledge them, and get them interested for what's coming up - all while they're preoccupied eating and talking? Quite the task.
Luckily, there are three principles that you can apply to make this less stressful and successfully carry it off. Remember these three things while you prepare, then when you present, and you'll be great.
- Everything you say is to make people feel good. So, when you first start out, acknowledge their sacrifices - attending during Christmastime, tight schedules - but emphasize what they've gotten from the experience: a spiritual experience, good sociality. The good things are the big points.
- In introductions, make it personal. People are a lot more likely to stay if they feel some connection with the singing group - people care a lot less where they've previously performed (unless it's the Vatican or somewhere big) than they care about what personal relationship they have with them. Easier said than done, but if you can help them care, you won't have to worry about people leaving!
- Finally, outlines are your friend. If you have a clear outline in your head of what you're going to say, you can be both genuine (even though you'll have rehearsed a lot, you won't sound refreshed), and have a hard time going for too long because you know what main points you have to hit. Get those points down pretty quickly so that you can mull over them for a few days before the event.