Want to be a productive keynote speaker? – 10 useful tips

Being keynote speaker requires multiple skills. Events are great platforms to showcase your idea, thoughts, product or service. The number of audience at events, seminars, conferences, trade shows is growing. Be it corporates, startups and entrepreneurs everyone looks for an opportunity to speak at such events. 

Every country is trying to attract people with events that cater a wide range of audience.  The number of events in technology sector have shot up. This blog showcases videos, tips, tools on how to be a productive keynote speaker.

1.Research your content
Everything is on the internet. Anyone can search any topic and pull up content that they are seeking. If you talking on a topic or your area of expertise make sure the content you are showing or talking is fresh, unique and has not been said or shared anywhere in the public domain. There is no harm in sharing or referring to used content but it might have been already used by some other speaker at an event. To create a unique content search for reports, articles, stats and infographics. Identify key areas what’s been said and what’s not. The content has to be inspiring, motivating and engaging.

2.Rehearse your talks
There are many aspects of rehearsing the content, speaking, body language, engagement with your audience. You can even rehearse in front of a small group of friends, colleagues or family to see how you perform. Do a video recording of yourself during this test and analyse your body language, facial expressions, your natural reactions, all these play a very important role when you are engaging with an audience who is seeing and hearing you for the first time. Don’t memorize verbatim what you’re going to say. Just follow the storytelling style without any scripting. This way you won’t forget and you’ll sound more authentic, genuine and conversational.

3.Know your Audience
You say this is obvious, but we are talking about not just the profile categories of people who will attend, but also know their company, industries, challenges they face and how you can offer help to them as a keynote speaker. This is something what you won’t speak but this knowledge will be useful during networking sessions to open up conversations. This is why a basic level knowledge of attendees is quite handy. Striking conversations with this knowledge can open up new business and speaking opportunities for you. Here’s A.J. Hoge about knowing your audience.

4.Awesome Presentations
You can make your own slides, or hire a presentation designer. The content and graphic has to be minimal and effective. The less the content on your slide the more your audience is engaged. You can add your branding elements as well. It’s smart to avoid jargon, stock photos, and too many bullet-points. Set the timing, animations and transitions and use the speaker notes section so you remember key points that need to be said or highlighted. Again rehearse timing of slides with your speech and make necessary adjustments based on your observation. It’s always helpful to share draft presentations with known people to get feedback and make changes if any. Here is a video of Apple event that shows how they use presentations to engage audience.

5.Tell a story
Stories are great way to start your talk leaving your audience in surprise and curiosity. The audience is there to learn something new and be inspired. Storytelling is an effective & proven of communicating and engaging your audience. Use real life example of success or failures and how it became a source of motivation. These examples are more impactful when they are from your own life or from someone you know. Try to connect the dots between that example story with your topic. You can use evidential or story related audio, video or photos to talk more about your story. Checkout this video of Dananjaya Hettiarachchi and his style of storytelling.

6.Crack a joke
Laughter is the best medicine, so why not use this medicine to remove the strange unknown gap between you and your audience. Sharing a joke or a real funny incident related to your topic makes the audience comfortable and gives them some laughs. Everyone loves few laughs right? There are many motivational speakers who use their persona or physical disabilities as sense of humour to their advantage passing on immense energy, motivation and inspiration. The level of humour depends on how easy or difficult your event, topic or audience is.

7.Involve your audience
Stories, presentations, humour all these are great tools while speaking, but nothing can engage your audience as much as moments where they are personally involved. There are very popular ways of involving audience like popping a question and asking audience to raise hands or playing a quick game that does not involve too much effort, time or resources. If your topic is related to a product or service you can even request one of the audience members to volunteer on stage as a user to demonstrate live experience. This type of personalized engagement is quite memorable. Here is a video of Malavika Varadan where she is involving audience.

8.A great ending
Since you already have given them a package of stories, visuals, humour and great content the audience would be highly expecting a great ending. The ending matters as much as the beginning, so what you say or show at the end of your speech is the key to your success. Depending on your agreement with the event organizers your speech might end with an option for  Q&A, expert panel debate or just a Thank you. If you notice that your audience has been engaged and had  great experience listening to you then you have to do more than just saying Thank you. The ending note has to be an action oriented trigger that makes your audience think. A Harvard graduate perfect commencement speech. Checkout the ending note.

9.Promoting your speech
As your keynote speaker if you have a social media presence then use it to your advantage before, during and after the event. Before event you can share your schedule and engage with your followers. During the event before and after your talk you can share key points from your talk, also share posts from official event channels. To maximise reach you can share interesting facts from other speaker and topics. You never know who will like your talk. After the event, publish on your website event related excerpts, blogs or short videos to highlight your topic and speech.

Take part in social media chats, discussions, all this should bring you new speaking opportunities. Gary Vaynerchuk is very popular the way he interacts, promotes his Q&A, interviews, keynote speeches at the event. This video of Gary talks about how you can use online marketing to your advantages.

10.Time tracking
Tracking tasks, activities, income, expense and profits across all events is a must. So do you have to use multiple apps and tools to track all these? Well your day is saved by Timepot. You can create unlimited projects and tasks in Timepot. For example every project can be termed as an event with associated tasks in it. You can set hourly, fixed price in any currency for an event, as you log time across tasks you can see how much time you are spending, which task is time consuming or more profitable. Timepot can help you estimate time and money for your future events and also help you with productivity and time management. Analyse the historical data with the overall response of the event to gauge your success or achievements. The data can be used to analyse your fees over years. Here’s a intro video about Timepot.

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