A keynote address is an opening presentation (usually) for an event. More often than not it is inspirational. Regardless, it sets the mood and tone for the event.
As with any presentation, a keynote address takes into account the participants, as well as the event. When giving one, it is important to include elements that show the audience that you are united with them in some way, whether by sympathy, common experience or understanding.
The keynote speech is not the place to be promoting yourself or your business. You are there in support of the event and its audience. You are there to set the mood and inspire. Only bring yourself into the presentation to build rapport, show common ground and be an inspirational example.
Keynotes are often given by the leader of an organization (e.g. Jeff Bezos from Amazon, as pictured). However, sometimes professional speakers are hired to give a keynote presentation to open a conference or symposium. In fact, many professional speakers make a good portion of their income from giving keynotes.
Tips for Effective Keynotes
- Use stories: Stories engage and can help your audience see themselves in your message.
- Respect the alloted time: Since a keynote is often given before all other presentations, if you go over it can throw the entire event off.
- Make it a performance: Engage your audience with your vocal variety, body language and other performance skills.
- Match your message to the event: Your presentation is the warm up, so make sure that it gets your audience ready to listen to the other speakers.
- Use visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words, so don’t be afraid to illustrate your keynote with effective visuals that get the audience engaged.
Resources for developing a keynote address:
- What Is A Keynote Speech?
- E-How: How to Give a Keynote Address
- Speaking-Tips.com: Making Your First Keynote Speech
The next post in this series is The Training Session.