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What Is A Keynote Speaker

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Hearing about a keynote speech and speaker has become more common than in years past, and though you might have a basic understanding of what they are, many of us would not know how to define them.

When you find yourself in charge of planning the next corporate event, retreat or conference, it is worth taking the time to learn about what it means to be a keynote speaker, what their speech should represent and how they differ from one another.

This intimate knowledge of the speaking industry will aid in the search for the right speaker for your event, as well as ensuring the attendees receive the desired results.

Creating the Framework

Meeting planners have the primary task of building a framework from which a successful event can develop and flourish. Though this outline consists of many components, the main factor is the theme of the occasion, and what the expected outcomes are.

More simply put, this element is the key to the affair.

As you begin pulling together the details for your conference, use the following goals as a guideline for developing the content that will ultimately become your unique keynote speech:

  • Mindful Leadership Practices: Helps organizations reduce the impact of ego while instilling a sense of value for each contributor.

  • Increased Sales Revenue: Provides a set of new sales goals with the directions and tools necessary to achieve them.

  • Improved Customer Service: Resets the degrees of personal desire and devotion that are needed to interact with customers successfully.

  • Furthering Innovative Development: Encourages the creative process in individuals and eliminates the obstacles that breed stagnation.

  • Developing Solid Teams: Introduces high levels of respect, trust and purpose that can be lacking in many companies.

  • Encouraging Personal Goals: Teaches valuable tools to help people become unstuck and finally advance toward achievement.

Though the list of worthwhile accomplishments is virtually endless, the common targets mentioned above can provide a helpful platform to proceed from for future action.

Selecting the Speaker

Having a clear objective in place for your event is a vital aspect to the selection of the ideal speaker. However, it is also important to understand that speakers specialize in different types of communication, regardless of the topic.

Depending on the audience and the outcomes that are expected, you must decide what type of speaker will facilitate the process.

  • Celebrity: Booking well-known celebrities to speak at your function is guaranteed to create a lot of excitement and enthusiasm within your crowd. If entertaining the guests is the underlying objective, hiring a celebrity speaker is sure to satisfy.

  • Expert: Many conferences require the need of expert speakers, who can speak to the latest research and data in a particular field. Such individuals are essential for continuing education, sparking industry innovation, and communicating new developments.

  • Inspirational: Sharing an authentic, personal story of triumph, courage and humility is a powerful way to change the perspective of all who hear it. Whether it is a business conference or private retreat, everyone benefits from a bit of inspiration.

  • Motivational: Getting motivated to alter old patterns and maintaining the energy to continue positive change is not so easy. Pairing real-life examples of transformation with tools that help shift bad habits, people can begin to experience long-term metamorphosis.

A good speaker is often willing and able to tailor their material to accommodate a variety of audiences. However, you should always allow a speaker to play to their strengths and not ask a motivational speaker to recite an abundance of academic data or expect an expert speaker to amuse the crowd with a comedy skit.

Setting Realistic Expectations

The keynote speech sets the general tone of the event and supports the primary mission of the organizers. The speaker’s role is to take the overall theme and deliver new perspectives and ideas that may not have been considered by the audience.

Though this presentation plays a significant part in realizing outcomes, there are specific interactions that can make the event more successful.

Through the use of breakout sessions or small workshops, speakers can further solidify their message in a more intimate setting. Not only is it easier to engage the attendees when their numbers are few, but it also provides personal access to the speaker. This individual touch further enhances the power of the material and can leave a lasting impression on the guests.

As you and your speaker look at the itinerary and discuss the outcomes, look beyond the broad nature of the keynote speech and brainstorm additional ideas and activities that can fulfill the potential of the event and the crowd.

Taking Time to Appreciate the Big Picture

On the day of the event, you and the speaker should be able to fully participate in the occasion and appreciate all of the thoughtful planning and hard work that you have both done.

With the keynote speaker bringing the important elements together through their speech and talents, the desired benefits are sure to ripple throughout the crowd, leaving a clear image of the big picture behind.

Pandit Dasa is a mindful leadership expert, motivational keynote speaker and author who has spoken at Fortune 500 companies and helps organizations improve employee engagement, retention and workplace happiness. He helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity and boost emotional intelligence.


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