What is a Keynote Speaker?
The term "key note" comes from the practice of playing a note before singing to establish the correct pitch. When having a convention, meeting, or political event, a Keynote Speaker is contracted to talk to an audience for approximately 45 minutes to set the tone of the meeting and summarize the core message, reveal important information, or inspire the audience. The keynote speaker is often called upon to act in the role of convention moderator as well.
The term Keynote Speaker is often confused the with other terms, e.g. inspirational speaker, plenary speaker, introductory speaker, motivational speaker, breakout speaker, industry expert, business speaker, or closing speaker. Although they are similar roles, each is quite different and finding one individual with all those attribues is exceedingly difficult.
In a relatively short period of time, the Keynote Speaker will be able to set the tone of your meeting and be able to draw attention to important points for your audience. The Keynote Speaker will have to have an one or more meetings with your team and spend time researching your industry, your issues, and your audience. After the research has been completed, an experienced Keynote Speaker can shape the keynote presentation into an excepional and memorable experience for your audience. Keynote Speakers use various methods to connect with an audience, they may interject humor or relate a past experience.
What are some Do's and Don'ts for having a successful Keynote Address?
- Do try to book your speaker at least six months in advance. You will have a better selection of speakers and the speaker will have plenty of time for research and preparation.
- Don't infringe on the speaker's allotted time. An experienced speaker has carefully timed the speech to fit the planned time. If the speech starts a few minutes late, move the next events back or shorten them. Remember, many people are looking forward to hear your featured speaker.
- Don't schedule a keynote speech during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or immediately following lunch or dinner. Immediately following breakfast is ok, but don't make the Kenote Speaker compete with clanging dishes or food.
- Don't insist on seeing all the slides of the speaker's presentation prior to the event. Keynote Speakers are often very busy and make last-minute changes to the presentation, often including current events.
- Don't distribute the presentation as handouts or digitally prior to the conclusion of the Keynote Speech. Let the speaker break the news or new features to your audience.
- Don't insist on including your logo or branding on the speaker's presentation.
- Don't seat your audience at "rounds" or round tables; it places many of the audience with their backs to the speaker and in an uncomfortable position. If the keynote is being held in the same room as breakfast was served, Do provide time to clear everyone out of the room and completely clear the tables before letting everyone back in for the keynote...it makes the keynote more of an event and also builds mystique.
Dan Jackson is an independent, experienced Keynote Speaker and Distinguished Toastmaster member of Toastmasters International based in San Antonio, TX and is available in the continental United States. Engaging Dan as your Keynote Speaker can help make your meeting easier to plan and make the meeting more successful. Contact Dan Jackson for more information, availability and Keynote pricing.