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What Is a Keynote Speech? (+10 Speaker Tips to Deliver Powerfully)

Being
asked to give a keynote speech can be a little intimidating, especially if
you’ve never given one before. You may even be wondering: what is a keynote
address?

Keynote
speeches are important and being asked to give a keynote talk can be a great opportunity
for you and your business. So, if you’re asked, consider taking advantage of
the opportunity. But first, you’ll need to learn a little bit more about
keynote speeches.

keynote speaker
A keynote speaker may be someone who’s very accomplished in their field. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

In this short tutorial, we’ll cover what you need to know
about giving a keynote message. We’ll provide you with a keynote address
definition. We’ll provide you with some good keynote speech examples. Plus,
we’ll cover ten tips to help you become a better keynote speaker.

For valuable tips on how to create a top-notch presentation, be sure to download our free eBook:  The Complete Guide to Making Great PresentationsIt’ll help you master the complete presentation process.

Perfect presentation ebook

What Is a Keynote Speech?

So, you’re probably wondering what a keynote speech is and
how it differs from any other speech you might give. A keynote address is
typically given to set the theme for an event. Examples might include the main
speaker at business conference or even a guest speaker at a graduation.

Keynote
speakers are sometimes well-known figures or even celebrities. In other
instances, depending upon the audience, they may just be someone who’s very
accomplished in their field. Keynote speakers are often paid for their services
and a professional keynote speaker who is in demand can earn quite a bit. Even
if you’ve never given a keynote message before, being asked to give one is both
an honor and a great opportunity.

Keynote
speeches are usually based on the speaker’s own experiences and knowledge. They
can also include motivational
and inspirational elements. Effective keynote speakers often make use of
storytelling as well. But the most important factor for keynote message success
is audience engagement. The keynote speaker needs to capture and hold the
audience’s attention and set the tone for the entire event.

If
you’re trying to learn about a particular type of public speaking, hearing an
example can help. One good example of a good keynote speech comes from Oprah
Winfrey, who gave the keynote address at the 2018 commencement for the USC
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. You can listen to her speech
for yourself:


For
even more examples of effective speeches, many of which could serve as keynote
addresses, study this roundup of some of my favorite Ted Talks:

How
to Make Your Presentation Stand Out With a Slideshow

If
the keynote address you’ll be giving will include a slideshow presentation, you
need to make sure that slideshow is the best it can be. Part of making
effective use of a slideshow is to make sure that your presentation design is
attractive and eye-catching. Admittedly, this can be tough to do if you’re not
a professional designer.

Fortunately,
there’s any easy way to create an engaging slideshow even if you’re not a
designer yourself. Envato
Elements
is a great way to find beautiful presentation templates for
any need. These professionally designed templates will help your slideshow to
really stand out. Plus, you’ll be able download stock photos, WordPress and web
templates, graphics, and more—all for a single flat rate! Download as much as
you need as often as you need it. This
is just the type of service a busy professional needs.

 But even if you’re sure you’re only going to
give the one presentation and you don’t need any of the other assets available
through Envato Elements, we’ve still got you covered. You can purchase an affordable,
one-time download of a professional
slideshow template
through GraphicRiver.

Now
that you know where to find good slideshow templates, you may be wondering
which templates to pick. The template roundup below can help:

Now
that we’ve discussed how to use a slideshow for your keynote message, it’s time
to examine some tips for giving a better keynote speech.

Speaker
Tips for Giving a Keynote Speech

You’re
pulling your keynote message together and you need to make sure it’s effective.
But it’s been a while since you’ve given a speech, or maybe this is your first
one. How can you make sure your speech is a success?

Here
are ten tips for public speakers that’ll help you deliver a powerful keynote
address:

1. Know Your Audience

Understanding
your audience is vital for any public speaker, but it’s especially important
for keynote speakers since it’s vital that they establish rapport with their
audience and also because they set the tone for the entire event. So, as early
in the speech preparation as possible, give some thought to who you’ll speaking
to. Tailor your speech to their needs and interests. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who’ll be listening to this speech?
  • What
    do they already know?
  • What
    do they need to know?
  • What are these listeners interested in?

If you know nothing about your audience, try asking the
contact person who invited you to speak.

2.
Do Your Research

If
you’ve been asked to give a keynote speech, there’s a good chance that you’re
already quite familiar with your topic. But don’t take that knowledge for
granted. Double-check your facts. Also, look for recent developments and
include any relevant updates to your material. Pay special attention to
information that’ll be useful to your listeners.

3.
Tell a Story

Storytelling
is a great way to connect with an audience. If you’ve got personal experiences
that your audience can relate to turning those into a story can often help
engage your audience. Even if you don’t have personal experiences, you may be
able to share the experiences of others. For example, sharing the story of how
a client successfully overcame an obstacle may inspire your listeners—especially
if they’ve faced a similar obstacle.

4. Consider Giving an Interactive Presentation

Adding
an interactive element to your keynote message is another way to capture your
audience’s attention. There are several types of interactive elements you can
add including getting audience feedback in real-time and incorporating a
Q&A session into your presentation. To learn more about interactive
presentations, review this tutorial:

5.
Practice Your Speech

Like
any other speech you might give, you should practice a keynote speech until
you’re very familiar with the material. Strive to know your speech topic so
well that you could talk about it without your notes if you needed to. As you
practice, use your presentation notes or outline as a prompt rather than
reading your speech. If possible, practice the speech in front of a friend or
family member who’s willing to provide feedback. The following tutorial
includes a checklist for practicing a speech that could be helpful:

6. Overcome Your Fear

Does
the idea of getting in front of an audience and talking make you uncomfortable?
Well, you’re certainly not alone. Studies from
the National Institute of Health (and other sources) have shown that as much as
77% of the general public may fear public speaking. With a keynote message the fear and pressure
is sometimes greater since the presentation is such an integral part of the
event. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to overcome the fear of
public speak ranging from positive self-talk to body language and more. In the
tutorial below you’ll discover over 20 ways to fight the fear of public
speaking:

7. Stay
Focused on Your Goal

If
you’re giving a speech, it’s easy to become distracted. Unfortunately, if you stray
too far from your topic you’re likely to lose the interest of your listeners. This
is where your speaker notes can be particularly helpful. Make sure that your
speaker notes are visible (and use a large enough font that you can read them
easily). If you do lose your pace or feel you’ve gone off topic, don’t be
afraid of a brief pause while you check your outline. You can learn more about
creating speaker notes to your presentation tool in these short tutorials:

8. Be Brief

Avoid overexplaining the topic of your keynote address. You
can do this by stating each point once followed by your supporting detail for
that point (including slides and other visual aids). Next, summarize the point
and move on to the next point. If you expected the audience to react to a point
and they don’t respond in the manner you expected, resist the temptation to go
back over the point. Finally, when your presentation is complete you can
restate the main purpose of your talk. Being brief and being focused matter and
the audience will appreciate you for it.

9. Get Enough Sleep

You probably already suspect that you’re not at
your best when you go without sleep. Now science supports what you’ve always suspected—lack
of sleep negatively
impacts your performance
. So, do
your best to get a good night’s sleep before your keynote talk. But that may be
easier said than done–especially if you’re at a business conference where
there’s a temptation to stay up late socializing and visiting with colleagues
and potential clients. There are some practical steps you can take, even when
you’re traveling, to improve your sleep. You’ll find some of those steps in
this tutorial:

10.
Share It Online

Once your keynote address is over, you can still benefit
from it. One way to do that is to share your speech online. Sharing your speech
online helps you to reach a larger audience than you initially spoke too. There
are a number of ways to share your speech online, including:

  • YouTube. This
    popular site is useful for sharing video presentations.
  • Vimeo. Another
    site that can help you to share a live presentation.
  • Facebook live. You
    can live stream your presentation through Facebook.
  • Other social media. You
    can include a link to your presentation on most other social media sites.
  • Your website. Including
    a video on your own website can be a great way to impress clients and
    prospective clients.
  • SlideShare. If
    your keynote address included a slideshow presentation, you can share it on SlideShare.
  • Email. You
    can also share links to your keynote speech through email.

To
learn more about sharing your keynote address, study these tutorials:

Make Great Presentations (Free PDF eBook Download)

We also have the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk
you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your
presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present
powerfully.

Free PDF eBook

Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It’s available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

Your Takeaways

You’ve just been given a keynote definition and some
examples of great keynote speeches to follow. Now that you understand what a
keynote address is and why it’s important, you’ll want to make your keynote message
as good as possible. 

Even if you’ve never given a speech before, you can use
the speaker tips in this article to give the best keynote address that you can.
Once you’ve finished your keynote presentation, don’t forget to share it for
maximum impact. If you’ve enjoyed the tips in this tutorial, you may also enjoy our Fundamentals of Public Speaking Learning Guide.

Have you given a keynote speech? What tips or
advice would you add for others?