So you've been asked to give the keynote speech at your next conference? Congrats! But how do you write and deliver one that people will remember? Here’s X ways to deliver a great keynote speech.
Structure is everything
Writing a good keynote speech is a lot like writing an interesting blog. It should have structure - with a beginning, middle and end - but we can do a bit better than high school English guidelines. You want people to be able to follow your speech however, it will be 10x more interesting with a bit of variety. Open with a question; answer it simply and use the next 20-30 minutes to give real depth and insight to your topic. Often people respond to the simple answer feeling strongly in the positive or negative camp and the sign of a good keynote is being able to open their minds.
Take short breaks
Hearing the same voice for a long time is enough to lull anyone into a daydream. Break up the sound of your voice with videos and other content that will offer your audience a new sound and wake up their brains. Make sure you set up an armchair or similar to the side of the stage so you’re out of the way of any tech equipment, but still close enough to jump back into speaking after the video.
Interact with the audience
Slot in an activity or two such as quick crowd survey’s to re-energise a tired audience. It could be as simple as asking ‘who agrees with XYZ? Raise your hand if you do.’ Or perhaps take your speech off the stage and walk around the audience gathering commentary.
When you’ve drafted and re-drafted your speech it starts to lose all meaning. When you reach a stage you are happy with have a practice run. Perform to a trusted friend or colleague and see what feedback they have for your writing or delivery. The more times you give the speech the more natural it will feel and you’ll look like a pro.
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