While your average keynote can often be plodding and old-fashioned, it’s an area where some creativity and planning can really bring it into the 21st century, modernizing it and making it more, well, interesting for the listener.
One great way to learn how to give a killer keynote speech is to listen to other great keynotes. No, not every speech needs to be as polished as the leaders of Google or Intel, just like not every book needs to be written by Ernest Hemmingway. But by watching them and seeing what they do, you can incorporate elements of that into your own speeches to help maximize their value.
One thing you’ll note in all these speeches is that they are entertaining. A keynote speech can go on for quite some time, and if your audience becomes bored and starts tuning out, you’ve lost any impact you might have hoped for. You don’t have to be constantly telling jokes or juggling things on stage to draw the eye, but by working in moments where the audience can react in excitement – surprises, fun concepts, enthralling narratives – you’re going to have them paying more attention.
There’s also a lot of graphics and tech involved in those speeches, aren’t there? That’s to be expected from modern day electronics and multimedia companies, but don’t leave it just to them. Your on-screen content, be it power-point slides or videos or anything in between, is a key part of your presentation. They’re not just visual aids; they’re an extension of your message. Never, ever, ever just put bullet points on a slide and read them off.
Also, note that none of these guys are natural entertainers or, for that matter, much of natural public speakers. They practice this stuff again and again and again, rehearsing key beats and moments until they know them forwards and backwards. A little extra work can help everything seem more natural and fluid on the day.
With a little work and a little creativity, you can make your keynote stand out from the crowd!