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May 30, 2018

How to Prepare for a Keynote Speech

Communication

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Washington, DC, September 29, 2008 — Close up of microphones at the podium at the FEMA press breifing room before a press event. FEMA/Bill Koplitz

The primary objective of making a keynote speech is to captivate and influence your listeners. To do so, the speech must be highly persuasive and successfully inspire the audience to take swift action. No matter where you are speaking or what you are speaking about, there are a few fundamental components that are instrumental in preparing to give a keynote speech. Refer to the following guidelines in hopes of delivering a compelling and eloquent keynote speech.

 

Remain in Sync With Your Goal

Maintaining the attention of an audience depends on you pacing and your ability to align with the purpose of your speech. Make your purpose clear and the chances are you won’t need a teleprompter or notecards.

 

Be Passionate

Speaking isn’t only about providing people with information. People attend a keynote speech because they want someone to move them. Tap into this desire and never hesitate to display your passion when delivering a keynote speech.

 

Make a Connection with Listeners

Without establishing a connection to your audience, your words will be essentially meaningless. Start by respecting your audience and recognizing you are on stage to please. Establish an authentic connection using stories from the real-life experiences of your audience and relate them to your own experiences.

 

Tell Stories

Teachers have used stories as a means of communication since the beginning of human history. To this day, storytelling remains the most efficient method of presenting meaning in a truly unforgettable way, and a compelling story is a key element of a successful keynote. Use stories relevant to your own experiences or look for current topics in books or the newspapers. If you want to make your speech memorable, pick an original story rather than an overused one. Avoid repetition to keep your credibility in front of your audience.

 

Be Confident

Maintaining your composure and confidence is vital to ensuring an audience’s attention. Individuals who demonstrate confident vibes draw people to them, so be sure you walk out on the stage feeling great about yourself. If you are prone to stage fright, take time to address what is hindering you before it’s time to make your speech.

 

Use Visuals

Visual aids can be excellent when you use them optimally. Incorporate relevant pictures or videos into your keynote speech when appropriate. These visuals can serve as a means of grasping audience attention and of inciting their imagination.

 

Utilize Humor

Display humor in keynote speeches through powerful stories, particularly within the dialogue. Insert humorous lines within your stories to add some comedy to your speech. A major advantage of placing humor inside dialogue is it that even if listeners don’t get the joke or miss the humor, they will still grasp the nature of your story. This reduces the risks associated with making a direct joke and failing.

 

Express Your Own Inner Dialogue

Sharing your inner dialogue with the audience is a great way to establish a firm connection and insert humor into your speech. Since your inner dialogue is usually personal, sharing its contents in front of a big audience allows listeners to realize your honesty and authenticity, which can help secure a connection and increase audience engagement. Adding excerpts from your internal dialogue is also an excellent opportunity to add some comedy to the speech. Hearing someone’s internal thoughts can be a funny experience, so try making your thoughts both funny and truthful to make give listeners inset into your personality and make your speech truly memorable.

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