When I set out interviewing top achievers in 1997 I had no idea it would mushroom into a career presenting keynote speeches, dynamic dialogue and motivational mantras. Baring my sole infront of my peers, colleagues and halls full of rowdy teenagers made me appreciate the benefits of my keynote speech preparation.
As with everything performance related, practise makes (as near possible) perfect. Keynote speech preparation is an art in itself.
It’s Not About You
Great speakers don’t happen overnight, it’s a craft that’s honed over time. Amongst the many traits that set great keynote speakers apart from the rest is the ability to understand the star in the room isn’t the person on the stage! Leave the ego behind at the door and focus the attention on the audience.
Yes, these people have paid and given up their time to sit and listen to you inspire, inform, educate and entertain, but be under no illusions, if you are not delivering value for money they won’t be happy. Be conscious of an audience-before-self mentality during your keynote preparation.
Approachable and Accommodating Personality
As a keynote speaker you have been booked to do a job! You will be asked to work closely with a conference committee or teaching staff who will have specific directives for a desirable outcome. Listening to the clients’ needs and having the capacity to be professionally pleasant, direct and above all flexible will ensure a good working relationship.
Clarity in Content
Let’s concentrate on the content of your keynote speech. No speaker soars without the substance under their wings. As this story demonstrates :-
Keith had a silver tongue. He was the master of persuasion. Any plea, petition, or request that he asked for was done immediately in the most efficient manner possible. Hell, he could tell you to go jump off a cliff and you’d simply reply “Which one?” So when he suddenly remembered that he had a potentially life-changing presentation at his workplace, only thirty minutes before it was about to happen, he wasn’t worried. He would treat it just like he treated every other situation. He would just talk his way through it. Needless to say, thirty-five minutes later, the silver-tongued devil got himself into a situation which will eventually get him fired. Unfortunately, style can only get us so far. Sure, you can probably get through a simple speech using just poise, posture and eloquence. But soon, your audience will catch on
When preparing your keynote speech do your check list. Are the following clear and concise:-
- the key logical elements- do they support the core keynote message
- key structural elements in order of – introduction, main dish, conclusion and related stories
- do the elements segue nicely together within the timings you’ve allocated for each section
Finally, It’s Over To You
Some say I have been lucky in my career, but what is luck? I am very fortunate to have helped thousands of people to tap into the mindset of the top achievers and to improve their own performance. I also feel very blessed to be able to inspire a teenager who’s lacking motivation.
My own keynote speaking journey started years ago and although I feel I have in some way honed my skill, I am fully aware that keynote speech preparation has and always will be top on my list of priorities. For more information on my keynote speaking, please see my website davidhyner.com
Images by prawny, mohamed_hassan