Understanding the Unique Qualities of Keynote Speakers

Being a successful public speaker is no easy undertaking. Even people who have years of experience delivering speeches in front of large audiences may still feel jittery and nervous before a speech. Additionally, different types of speakers have different responsibilities to both their own brands and their audiences. Professional speakers of all kinds must possess a few crucial qualities to succeed in their speeches and deliver engaging, impactful, and ultimately useful information to their audiences.

Sales meeting kickoff speakers, meeting presenters, and keynote speakers all share many responsibilities to their audiences, but they have different goals when it comes to delivering their speeches. These three types of speakers function in different capacities. It’s a good idea to know the key differences between them.

Sales Meeting Kickoff Speakers

Sales organizations typically meet at least once each year for a “kickoff” meeting. The purpose of this meeting is simple: align the organization’s sales teams behind a shared vision for the company and the ultimate goal for the year. This could be breaking into a new market, bringing new products and services to established customers, or reaching a specific sales milestone. In many ways, a sales meeting kickoff event helps set the tone for the rest of the sales season.

A sales meeting kickoff speaker has the responsibility of essentially being the master of ceremonies for this event. This speaker will likely need to deliver the first major speech of the event, and this can be immensely impactful to the whole organization by setting the pace for the rest of the kickoff.

Sales meeting kickoff speakers essentially bridge the gap between meeting presenters. While a keynote speaker’s job is to generally fill seats at an event and capture the audience’s attention for an entertaining yet enlightening CEO-level breakdown of a topic, a presenter’s job is to dive into the finer details of the subject matter and inform the audience. A good sales meeting kickoff speaker should be able to handle a blend of both.

Sales meetings that kickoff the sales season should not only inform the audience of the organization’s goals for the season but also provide levity and entertainment that generates excitement and energy throughout the organization. Being an effective sales meeting kickoff speaker demands utilizing a few key traits of both meeting presenters and keynote speakers.

To be a good sales meeting kickoff speaker, you must know your audience. The same could be said of any professional speaker, but, for a sales meeting kickoff speaker, it is especially true. The sales professionals attending the kickoff event know their stuff, and they’re going to expect the speaker to as well. The first few minutes of the sales meeting kickoff speech are essentially a “test.” If the speaker fails, the audience will tune them out.

Meeting Presenters

While some speakers aim to entertain as they inform, meeting presenters typically lean toward being informative over being entertaining. A sales meeting is generally a time to discuss new strategies, refine selling techniques, and cover new ways of reaching customers. A meeting like this will typically last longer than a keynote speech or a sales meeting kickoff speech, so the meeting presenter has the added responsibility of keeping the audience attentive and engaged even longer than a keynote speaker or sales meeting kickoff speaker needs to manage. The average keynote speech may last 15 to 20 minutes, while an informative meeting could last 90 minutes or even longer in some cases.

A meeting presenter may not need to be as entertaining and engaging as a keynote speaker, but they must still capture and hold the audience’s attention to convey the topic at hand. While each audience member has a responsibility to absorb the lessons provided, the meeting presenter should attempt to deliver these lessons in an engaging way and at a steady pace.

Keynote Speakers

What is a keynote speaker? The name suggests that this type of speaker sets the “key note” for the event. The keynote speaker for any event first and foremost should draw a crowd. Typically, when an organization hosting an event hires a keynote speaker from outside the organization, the keynote speaker has a recognizable name and brand that carries authority. The audience will be expecting a relatable and engaging speech delivered by an accomplished speaker. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity to be an effective keynote speaker.

While sales meeting kickoff presenters have the responsibility of ramping up the organization’s energy levels to set the stage for a great sales year, and a meeting presenter has the task of delving into the specifics of a presented topic, the keynote speaker’s job is to set the tone for an event with a CEO-level perspective of the given topic. An effective keynote speech should straddle the line between informative and engaging and aim to transform the atmosphere of an event.

Being an effective keynote speaker demands confidence. Regardless of the speaker’s position and qualifications, the speaker must be able to convey the fact that they know what they are talking about and present their information in an informative and engaging way. The audience for the keynote speech should feel inspired and encouraged by what the keynote speaker has to say. They shouldn’t hold any doubts as to whether the speaker knows what they are talking about, and the keynote speaker’s talking points should be clear and relatable.

The Aristotelian Method for Being a Better Keynote

Thousands of years ago, the philosopher Aristotle broke down the three crucial components of being a persuasive and effective public speaker: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos refers to the speaker establishing their credentials and proving to the audience that listening to the speaker is worth their time. This should take up minimal time and the speaker should not focus too much on their own accomplishments. They should establish their background and, in so many words, say that they know what they are talking about.

The second component, logos, is the logic the speaker offers. The speaker should support their talking points with logic and facts. Bringing up verified statistics and pointing out observable data are two great ways to build up the logos behind a speech. This portion of the speech should take up much more than the ethos portion of the speech, but not as much as the third portion: pathos.

Pathos refers to the emotional connection between the speaker and the audience. The speaker should be able to convey their ideas in such a way that the audience remains emotionally invested in the speech. This is feasible in several ways, including anecdotal stories, humor, and tactfully delivered emotional appeals. The speaker should be able to evoke some type of emotional response, hopefully a positive one, and keep the audience engaged with the material of the speech.

Ultimately, learning how to convey ideas with authority and confidence in an engaging and sometimes entertaining way is the key to delivering a truly great keynote speech.

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