Getting off to a good start can make or break you, which is why your introduction is so important. It must be both respectful of the audience-not all of whom are going to be on your side-and compelling enough for them to withhold judgment while hearing you out.
Think about throwing a dinner party: Your guests are the audience. You plan a menu and set the table. Before you serve the entrée you serve an appetizer and introduce those who are meeting for the first time. Your introduction should put your guests on common ground-at ease with each other-before the main course, your argument, is served. When dinner is over, your argument made, your guests stay on for coffee and dessert, your conclusion.