What Makes a Great Keynote?

What should organizations look for in a Keynote Speaker? As a frequent conference presenter, I am always looking for ways to distinguish myself from my peers, especially as a concurrent presenter looking to continue to progress to keynote sessions. We have identified five qualities keynote speakers must have in order to be successful:

  • High-Energy – Keynotes usually kick off a conference or end a conference; in these time slots, you need a presenter that energizes the entire group and gets them excited about what’s to come or what has been heard. It has to have a fun, invigorating feel and make the audience leave excited and enlightened.
  • Entertaining – Keynotes must be extremely entertaining and fun and excite and energize the room and all attendees. They must connect the audience with the overall message.
  • Engaging – Keynotes have to engage the audience and converse with them, not to them. Get them involved in the conversation, make them emotionally connect to the message. The more engaging, the more the audience will feel the message and connect with each person on a personal level.
  • Message/Material must applies to EVERYONE in an Audience: Keynotes have to be able to connect with everyone in the audience and must a message that is universal.
  • Unique – Finally, a very important trait that is usually not pointed out is the uniqueness of the presenter. Keynotes need to differentiate themselves from the pack; it might be as simple as a different way to think or that they dress differently or do not use a microphone or podium…whatever the trait, it needs to stick out and be remembered.

A few months back, I had the great pleasure of attending a fundraiser that ex-Chief of Dallas Police David Brown spoke. I assumed he would connect the audience with the attacks on Dallas in July 2016 and how he graciously handled these events. I was completely surprised when this was never mentioned and he told a wonderful story from his youth and connected the whole room with his message. It was a truly excellent presentation and his speech exemplified all of the qualities outlined above. What else is necessary to make a great keynote presentation?

Creating Effective Webinars

We have all listened in on boring, ineffective webinars. What are the keys to creating a truly effective webinar? Would love to here your comments on what is key. Here are my thoughts:

  • Voice Inflection – One of the pieces of advice I was given when I first started delivering webinars is to have a mirror in front of you when you are speaking. People can hear when you are smiling/showing emotion; it is important to not become monotone when the audience cannot see you.
  • Interaction – My greatest concern when I started delivering webinars is I would not be able to interact with the audience as I like to do live. During our webinars, I engage attendees as much as possible and not just through CPE questions. We have many informal polls and try to answer questions real-time throughout the presentation. The interaction is not the same as live but we still strive for a high-level of interaction on our webinars.
  • Quick Moving Subject Matter – We try to keep the subject matter constantly moving, capturing key points but not dwelling on any slides for very long. I utilize the same methodology (to a certain extent) in live classes; if the slides do not keep flowing, you risk losing the attention of your audience. I tend to have more slides for webinars when compared to live courses as well.
  • Dialogue – As we spoke about previously when we discussed Interaction, we strive to make each attendee feel like they are in a live course or they are in a 1:1 coaching session. We implore attendees to ask questions and lend their experiences to the topic at hand. This perspective adds significant value to all attendees experience.
  • Take breaks (if over an hour) – We currently conduct webinars that run from one to eight hours; we break up the eight hour courses into fourths or two four hour sessions. Regardless, if you are hosting a webinar over one hour, take breaks. Take five minutes at the top of each hour. It is difficult enough sitting through live training but sitting in front of your computer, hour after hour, trying to focus on listening? Very difficult to do, even for the most focused attendee.

Attendee Feedback

Course Offerings

latest book goldsrd