Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Better than "needs no introduction:" Memphis student introduces Obama in wry style

Let's face it: Commencements can be dreary speaking events, full of platitudes and over-long speakers. And then there's the problem of introducing the famous speaker--you know, that one who "needs no introduction," that overused method of letting everyone know you aren't going to do the obvious and read the speaker's well-known bio.

Now, a student at Booker T. Washington high school in Memphis--the lucky school that won the competition to have President Obama speak at its graduation--schools us all in introducing a famous speaker, with an intro that was short, wryly funny and wise beyond his years.

In this New York Times account, we get the details:

There were several student speakers, one of whom rivaled Mr. Obama for timing and smooth delivery. Christopher Dean, a senior who introduced the president, said his job was difficult because everyone already knew the speaker’s occupation and the name of his wife. “Or,” Mr. Dean said, after pausing for a beat, “where he was born.” Mr. Obama bent over in laughter.

Next time you have to introduce a well-known speaker whose credentials could be recited by the audience from memory, follow young Mr. Dean's example and make it knowing, but not boring.

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