What is a Keynote Speaker?

What is a Keynote Speaker?

When it comes to public speaking one may either excel at it or perform abysmally. Fortunately, a little preparation goes a long way, and most of us can manage to deliver an adequately coherent speech if the need arises. In a professional capacity, however, a merely passable talk cannot be considered sufficient. Corporate events, industry wide conferences, executive summits and large companies such as banks and software producers may find it useful to hire a keynote speaker to deliver informative lectures or talks to their target audience.

Who are They?

Keynote speakers are professional orators who can capture the essence of a meeting and highlight it to the audience in a short period – usually 1 to 2 hours, including a Q&A. A good keynote speaker will carry out the required research beforehand and weave their keynote message into their program in a fun and memorable way.

A well-known example of an accomplished keynote speaker is Steve Jobs, whose admirable capability of delivering engaging keynote speeches for Apple earned him the well-deserved nickname of “Stevenotes”. A good keynote speaker will carry out the required research beforehand and weave their keynote message into their program in a fun and memorable way.

How do they Work?

The term “keynote” is derived from the practice of singing a cappella, where the introductory note determines the key in which the song will be performed. An accomplished keynote speaker will do much the same, and set the general tone for the meeting, outlining the main points and establishing a dominant, underlying theme for the event.

Keynote speakers are generally very sought-after and cost a pretty penny and are often required to travel to different countries in order to deliver their speeches. Finding your keynote speaker should not, therefore, be taken lightly, especially if you are investing heavily in the expense. A true professional will ask for a meeting with the organisers of the event, or director of the company, to get a clear idea of what is expected of them and, more importantly, what needs to be delivered in terms of material. It is then up to the speaker to deliver their message in the most inspiring, entertaining and memorable way possible to their target audience. They may choose to employ humour, audience participation, slides, pictures or video clips in order to illustrate their point(s) in an unforgettable manner.

A good speaker will deliver a speech to a group of investors or day traders in a very different way than he would deliver the same speech to a group of work at home moms, or a group of zoo keepers.

The Cream of the Crop

What really sets a good keynote speaker apart is their ability to deliver the right amount of information in the right way to their audience. Many speakers make the all-too-easy mistake of bombarding their listeners with too much information in a short, thus focusing too narrowly on the company’s area(s) of specialty.

Memorable speakers, on the other hand, will get a discussion going among the participants, prompting a call to action and inspiring the audience. This is why many companies usually introduce their keynote speaker at the beginning of the event, though it is not unheard of to have one at the halfway mark, or even at the end of the discussion, to leave a lasting impression.