Anyone can speak to an audience, but what sets you apart from other keynote speakers, is the tone and delivery of your keynote speech. You can make a keynote speech unforgettable by speaking of broader issues in your chosen field. You can keep the main topic at the center, while situating it on larger issues, with relevant context. You can also add a survey or two as examples, without overextending your presentation. The following are some important keynote speech tips that’ll fulfill your ultimate goal of being an unforgettable keynote speaker:
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Understanding Your Audience:
- One of the best ways to target your audience with your keynote speech, would be to address their pain points. What they’re looking for, their goals, or what benefits they’re searching for. Instead of speaking just facts, speak on the benefits of said facts, and challenges if there are any. Add an emotional note to the speech, as that pulls in the audience like no other.
- Adapt your keynote speech to your target audience by putting yourself in their shoes. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what they are searching for in your keynote speech. Add humorous references, well known pop culture references, but don’t promote yourself too much as that could be counterproductive. Adding relevant examples is a clever keynote speech strategy.
Crafting Your Message:
- Less is more, and your keynote speech should aim to be such. In a day and age where the attention span of the average person is worsening, your speech must hook your audience in, right before they lose interest. Be clear in your intentions, be compact and to the point.
- Your keynote speech should aim to sell an image. Be the main character by changing your tone and voice with respect to what you’re describing, add subtle hand gestures to indicate honesty, and imagine yourself being the audience’s eyes to observe from their pov.
- People love stats. Back up your keynote speech with raw data, enough to pique their curiosity without boring them; it’s proof of what you’re conveying. A story without facts is fiction.
- Keynote speeches, or any presentation for that matter, are less about what you say, and more about how you make your audience feel. If you are using tools like Powerpoint, a darker background with lighter writing or images is more eye-catching and less distracting.
- Getting attention is easy, but how do you sustain it? By keeping it simple and to the point. People love stories but get bored of facts. As you might remember, your favorite teacher was always the one who presented their subject in an engaging and interesting manner, making you want to learn more. Combine facts and a good story to fascinate the audience, and by that, you retain their attention for a long time.
- Keynote speaking is an art form where you are the main character. How you present yourself physically and vocally, matters a lot. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror. What is your posture like, do you look confident or timid? Do you look like you’re about to make a point, or do you look sluggish? All of this will add up to your end result on stage.
- Timing is of the essence. You don’t want your audience to wait for your next bit. Don’t rush through your keynote speech, be deliberate and steady. Notice how confident people behave. They are steady and they aren’t afraid to take up space. Follow that. Ask questions as if you’re discussing with your audience, talk to them, not down at them. Be semi formal, but not condescending.
- Nonverbal communication, aka your body language, is more important than you might think. Use your body to convey your message. Pace slowly around the stage instead of looking like you’re taking a stroll. Lean in when making a point. Use your hands to gesture at an important point. Look at the audience, both the ones sitting in the front and those behind as well. Inclusivity builds trust.
Handling Q & A Sessions:
- A keynote speech is generally interactive, so it’s natural to have a Q & A session at the very end, that touches on what has been spoken by the keynote speaker the whole time. If you are faced with generic questions, answer based on the theme/topic. If you are asked things that you might not know about, don’t make things up. Tell them to get back at you via your preferred way of contact/social media, at a given deadline.
- Deal with hecklers with humor. Anger is not the answer, and it might end up being the only thing your audience remembers if things go sideways. If you end up saying anything wrong, admit it, and correct yourself. Ownership is strength. If you are aware that there might be a difficult guest in your crowd, you as keynote speaker should suggest to your team that they be met in advance to maintain a positive atmosphere through the whole ordeal.
- Setting yourself apart in a highly competitive environment might seem like a daunting task. There is always someone better than,more skilled than, wittier than, or faster than you, and merely thinking that, may lead you down a rabbit hole of doubt and desperation, resulting in you losing the race before it even starts. This is your mind playing tricks on you to “protect” you. Just remember, even the biggest players are thinking the same. Even the legends started from zero, we just know of their success, but we don’t hear much of their sad experiences, as you know, it doesn’t garner much attention. After all, who doesn’t like positivity in an already chaotic world?
- In conclusion, dear reader, you have to follow these strategies for an impactful and memorable keynote speech, when you have the need for it. The takeaway from this blog would be:
- Put yourself in your audience’s brain. If you were your audience, what would you look for? What would you be the most impacted by?
- Have a confident body language. Don’t slouch, or look meek, be like an eagle, not an armadillo.
- Public speaking is an art form, practice regularly to get better at it. Practice by uploading podcasts, videos, and letting people hear and see you.
- Lastly, be precise, but impactful. Short and to the point speeches retain the most attention.
I hope the above keynote speech strategies come in handy for you; good luck with your future public keynote speech!