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What Makes a Great Keynote Speech?

Strategy

What Makes a Great Keynote Speech? image Best Keynote Speakers in HistoryYou’ve booked a top speaker to give the keynote speech at your upcoming event.  Between the speaking fee and the hotel and airfare, it wasn’t cheap. But you can’t just sit back and let the keynote speaker do his or her thing if you want the result to be a great keynote speech.

A keynote speech generally has a goal. It may be a motivational call to action. It may be educational. It may celebrate employees at a successful company. It may aim to reassure employees in tough times.  It is up to you to convey your message to your speaker so that he or she may tailor the speech to get that message across.

Do your homework on your keynote speaker

Before the speech is made, you may want to check the content to make sure that the message is getting across to your satisfaction.  Some keynote speakers at presidential conventions have ended up making their speeches draw more attention to themselves than to the candidate they are supposed to be introducing. You want your speaker to be entertaining, but not at the expense of delivering your call to action.

You must also familiarize your speaker with the audience that will be hearing the speech. If you are a bunch of computer programmers or a church group, your speaker will have a preconceived notion of what type of audience to expect.  But most organizations may not conform to the expected stereotype. A great keynote speech should be tailored to the specific audience, not to the generic organization type.

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Tell your keynote speaker about your company

Even if your speaker is an expert in your field, you still need to fill him or her in on the specifics of your organization. Two advertising agencies may have the same goals but different corporate cultures, or vice versa. Material that works for one may not work for another. And there may be no obvious way for the speaker to know what would be considered appropriate material and what is off-limits without your input.

Sometimes the same company implements a sudden culture change. In 2013, the Grammy Awards, previously known for presenters showing up in overly revealing outfits, instituted new rules aimed at imposing more modesty on the presenters. While the typical keynote speaker probably does not have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions, the speaker should know if last year’s speaker told a couple of off-color jokes that drew complaints.  Or maybe your organization has had an incident that has resulted in a need for extra sensitivity. Your speaker needs to be made aware of any special circumstances.  Click here to learn more about how to hire a keynote speaker.

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