Keynote speeches – the art of getting noticed … and being remembered

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" What’s the big deal with keynote speeches? Why do so many business leaders jump at the opportunity to deliver them? Are they only about ego and self-publicity, or can keynote speeches bring genuine benefit to a business? In this article, we’ll look at these questions and also explore the vital elements to consider when preparing your keynote speech."

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Become stunningly unforgettable

Let’s say you’re an expert in your niche. Or maybe you represent your entire organisation. No matter. You’ve been invited to deliver a keynote speech at a conference. You are in possession of ‘the golden ticket’. By being asked to present a keynote speech, the power is in your hands to create an impression. Not just any impression, but a great impression – an impression that will resonate with your audience and stay in their memories for weeks, months, or even years to come.

You’ll do this by informing and inspiring your audience. Delivering your keynote speech will be one of the best chances you have to promote yourself as a thought leader and to make your brand stunningly unforgettable.

Avoid the unholy whiff of the hard sell

Don’t, just don’t, think of your keynote speech as a sales opportunity. Your audience will be many things. One thing they won’t be is stupid. The moment they detect the slightest sense of being sold to, you’ll lose their interest and turn them off … for good.

However, get the tone, content and delivery right, and you and your brand will become memorable to everyone in that room or on that call. Ask yourself this – can any marketing activity have a higher purpose?

Winning hearts and minds with a great keynote speech

Share your powerful stories through expertly crafted narratives. Add to the mix your valuable insights and your unique experience. Make your audience feel entertained and informed. Then you’ll win their hearts and their minds.

To deliver a successful keynote speech, you don’t have to have been in your role for years. Instead, you need to present a level of experience and skill that convinces your audience that you’re worth listening to.

The quality of empathy

The key to achieving this involves a human quality that too many speakers forget – or perhaps never knew in the first place. Maybe their egos get in the way. Maybe they’re obsessed with the idea of selling their irresistible services. Who knows? But what is clear is that, for your keynote speech to be truly successful, then you need to possess the quality of empathy.

Sure, it’s you who’s up there on the stage. But it’s not you who needs to be the ‘hero’ of your presentation. This isn’t about you or even about your business. Your keynote presentation is about your audience. They need to be the ‘hero’. Your job is to make them feel that everything you say in your presentation is addressed to them, is about them and, more than anything else, is for them. To achieve this, before you even begin to plan your presentation, you need to be absolutely clear about your audience –

  • Who are they?
  • What are their roles in their respective organisations?
  • Why are they attending the conference?
  • What are their ‘pain points’?
  • How are you, your skills, your services, or your products going to resolve those pain points?
  • What will have them queuing up when you’ve finished, wanting to know more?
  • When they return to work the following day, what will have them buzzing? What will they be excitedly chatting about with their colleagues and line managers?

Not a song and dance act

Don’t obsess over the idea that you have to be entertaining. Your audience isn’t expecting a song and dance act. The skill you need to develop is that of holding their attention – keeping their eyes focused on you and their ears fixed on what you have to say.

You simply need to develop –

  • a relaxed, easy confidence
  • a sense of friendly, empathetic authority – a mastery of your topic
  • the impression that you are there for your audience – you’re there to resolve their pain points – to make their lives better.

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