Todd Moy and I presented a session on virtual dating at SxSW '09. We introduced ourselves.

Folks, we can do better by the people who speak at our events and the people who come to hear them. Instead of blandly reading material most of the audience is already familiar with--especially if it's printed in the program--try one or more of these tips:

1. Share your excitement

Show your enthusiasm about your guest. Talk about why you're excited to hear what this person has to say. If you're a friend or colleague of the person, share an anecdote. EXAMPLE: "I've been reading Sue's blog for years and appreciate her no-nonsense approach to social media. Last week I followed her advice on calls to action and got about 10 percent more leads than usual. I can't wait to hear the tips she will share today."

2. Quote them

Dig up some good quotes and take-aways from the speaker's work. I was once introduced by someone who shared excerpts from articles I've written, posts from this blog and updates on Twitter related to the session topic. It was fun way to establish my bona fides and get the audience primed.

3. Create context

Give us some context on why s/he's on the dais and why we should care beyond what's in the stock bio. Why is this speaker the best person for the job? Why did you choose her/him instead of the legions of others available. Help the audience get revved up about the value of the session. EXAMPLE: "Mike's a nationally known authority on what's driving our economy, and a local native. We're extremely lucky to have him share his perspective on how national fiscal policy impacts the local economy."

4. Take a left turn

Focus on more interesting aspects of the speaker's background, like what they wanted to be when they grew up, why they chose the college they did or what they wish they knew then that they know now. This is a great way to humanize the speaker.

5. Make it quick

Sometimes the best intro is short and sweet, with no window-dressing. EXAMPLE: "You obviously came here to see Al, not me, so without further ado, I'll turn the mic over to Al Smith, author of Better Introductions."

What are some other ways to introduce speakers that don't involve reading bios? Please share!