Four tips for an effective keynote speech

Delivering a keynote speech is an integral role in any conference or meeting.

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An article in John Mattone defines a keynote speaker as ‘someone who sets the pitch for a seminar, convention or technical meeting’. Amongst guest speakers and experts in the field – all of which will have their own agendas and individual points to make – the person delivering the keynote speech has to work hard to tie all of these threads together in order to keep the overall theme of the meeting clear. In other words, the speaker has the important (and sometimes difficult job) of driving home the main aim, message or revelation that the meeting centres around.

But how can you deliver the best keynote speech?

Know your audience

A great speech will engage and enthral an audience, but in order to achieve this you need to know a little about them. How do they relate to the topic of the meeting? How can you draw them in and what are their motivations for being there? The best way to deliver an effective speech is to understand the people who are listening and knowing what makes them tick. Talk directly to your audience and inspire them by telling them what they can do after the meeting to bring the vision to life. This will create emotions and drive within them that is fundamental to the goals that the meeting sets out to achieve.

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Split into chunks

Delivering a speech can be nerve-wracking even for a seasoned speaker. Split your speech into three parts and treat them as such when you are honing and polishing them. It’s a good way to practice and organise your speech so that each section is spoken about at equal length.

Good variety

A good speech ( should have a little bit of everything – facts, personal stories, humour, statistics, emotion and new ideas. Ensure that you incorporate all of them equally. Too much humour and your message can become trivialised. Too many facts and statistics and people may lose interest.

Begin at the end

Think about what you hope to achieve from the meeting and start from there – working your way backwards to describe how and why to the audience. This is a trend proven to work in keynote speeches.

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