The most important characteristic of a keynote speaker is having the desire to be one. It may be a little more complicated than that, but the key is motivation.
This motivation is not synonymous to desiring to promote yourself and make money. If these things motivate you, most people would know it, but not everyone would. You might have friends, business partners, or supporters that believe in you, but they would be a small number, unless you regularly go to vendor shows or isolated events. No, your motivation should be thinking that you could do a better job at speaking than other people.
You Need To Be Driven
You need to have that confidence and think that you could stand in front of a lot of people and inspire them to do something. You must sincerely believe that you have more knowledge than they do. This confidence should be combined with belief, courage, and sheer determination.
As a keynote speaker, you will be in the spotlight. When somebody in the audience challenges you with a powerful or even a senseless question, you have to not just defend your message, but reinforce it. You do not want to be in a situation where you are asked a simple, direct question and you have no credible response. Keep in mind that delivering a keynote speech is not for everyone.
You Should Have Something to Say
Certainly, you would have something to say. However, it is worth pointing out that if you are just running received wisdom, mantras, clichés, or low-risk repetitions of common sense or ideas of other well-respected speakers, you cannot get away with it in a keynote. That being said, there is a place every convention for people who could persuade others to adopt what seems to be simple things that are difficult to accomplish or convey challenging concepts. This kind of keynote speaker is in the ‘great motivator/communicator’ category.
You Have to Be a Good Communicator
Using long words and having a huge vocabulary is not always a good thing. Usually, excellent communicators are not loudmouths, soapbox orators, or crowd stirrer. As a reference, you may search a description of communication skills. Suffice to say, there have been incredible speeches from people who are not really natural speakers.
Keynote speakers do not necessarily have to be slick, but their natural delivery and material can excellently get their message across. It is really hard to judge someone, so it is better to ask advice from friends or those who have recently heard you deliver a speech.
Know Your Audience
You cannot decide whether or not your keynote speech is useful or interesting. It is actually a matter of the opinion of others. You may think that being a keynote speaker, you have loads of knowledge to share, but your audience may think otherwise. Trends change, so being on the frontline of a new method might be suitable for your audience. However, it may also be a huge step for them to welcome your talk or think of it as inappropriate. You need to know your market – their aspirations and problems; what can go down well; and what they know and do not know.
Do Not Say No
This may seem like a questionable suggestion, but this means do not say no to an invitation that you consider as a ‘worthy’ conference or one that will not cost you a lot of time and money. Be open to attending new shows because this is the only way you will have experience if you are only getting started. You will never know where you can meet lovely and smart people who will treat you kindly. You can also get some amazing stories that you can use for a long time in your keynotes.
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