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Chapter Fourteen. ''I have the honor to ... > Purposes of the introduction

Purposes of the introduction

An introduction has three readily identifiable purposes: First, and perhaps most important, the introduction should tell why the speaker is there. It's well to remember that, with some exceptions, the introduction should introduce both the speaker and the speech. This does not mean that the introduction must mention the title of the speech, although it often does. It means that it should give a general idea of what the audience might expect to hear.

The second purpose of an introduction is to establish the speaker's qualifications and credentials. And here I want to stress the fact that qualifications and credentials are not necessarily the same thing. Let's take our friend Max Smythe. Although lacking a college degree, he might be better qualified than someone with, say, a doctorate in comparative literature. The person with the doctoral degree would have the credentials; the successful novelist, although a college dropout, would have the qualifications.


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