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[Miscellaneous] What It Takes To Give A Keynote Speech

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Post time 10-2-2021 11:24 PM | Show all posts |Read mode
Being a great keynote speaker is not easy. If you have ever been asked to speak at a conference or event, then you know there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with this. After giving a keynote speech at a coaching event, I was recently asked from some members of the audience if I had any suggestions. I wanted to post them here to share with the community:

1. Be heard
An apparently obvious but important mistake that many speakers overlook. I've lost count of the number of times audience members have come up to me after a talk to specifically thank me for having a clear, loud voice. If people are straining to hear you, they will eventually switch off and it doesn't matter how good the talk itself is.
2. Have a clear aim
The aim has got to be to give the audience an enjoyable experience. With so many demands on their time, you should leave them feeling glad
that they chose to spend an hour listening to you. Remember, as a
keynote speaker you've only used one hour of your time, but if there are a hundred in the audience, then you have the potential to waste 100 hours of others' time. Make sure you don't. If you watch some of the expert keynote speakers, you will see that they make use of every second they are on stage.
3. Be likeable
Audiences warm to a speaker who seems nice. They are more prepared to go along with you for the journey you are proposing to take them on, and it makes for a splendid social lubricant. Smile and make it clear you're glad to be there.
4. Never underestimate the audience’s intelligence
People who come to talks are intelligent and well motivated. They love being surprised, and being given new insights they weren't expecting. But, you must make your world accessible to them. No matter how intelligent the audience, you must build bridges with your words and images to help make it easy for them to enter and understand the world you are trying to introduce them to. You may well be an expert in your field but that alone does not mean you can provide a good talk. Don’t rely on your expertise in the subject alone. You need the wit and imagination to be able to introduce it to someone who may not have the capability to follow what you're saying just yet, but will do if you present the information well. Suddenly, they will feel cleverer, and thank you for opening their eyes to a new world.
5. Create a story, or series of mini–stories / themes
Too often I've attended a talk where the images have been fantastic but there has been nothing connecting them. If you're giving a talk you
are a storyteller, no matter how good your images may be. The images should serve the talk. I have some beautiful images that will never appear in any of my talks, because they don't illustrate what I wish to talk about. Which brings me to my next point...
6. Have something to say
Research the country or visit before you go. Make contacts before you set off. This will help you decide what images and information you need to collect, and increases the chance that you will have meaningful experiences that people will want to hear. What intrigues you most about the country? The people? The politics? Theenvironment? Engage with it, gain some unusual insights, and you willhave something to say.
7. Get the audience to care
As a life coach and co-founder of the Coaching Institute, I am very passionate about what I do. Therefore when I speak, it is very easy for me to get people to care about what I am giving a presentation on. Get them to care about the people in your slides, about you, about the country, anything. Engage the audience's empathy and they are with you and want to follow you on your speaking 'journey'.
8. The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool
Wise words from William McFee. Enthusiasm is good, but only takes you so far. An enthusiastic speaker, who also presents a well planned, well illustrated talk, will always be appreciated.
The end result
The audience feel glad they entrusted you with their time. Their minds are abuzz with the insights you have given them and they feel
they have been given new perspectives they wouldn’t otherwise have acquired. Worlds have collided fruitfully.


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