How To Be A Great Keynote Speaker At A Business Conference

If you are serious about positioning yourself as an authority in the music business, then you are going to need to be able to get up in front of an audience and speak to them. Music conferences such as SXSW and WMC are great places where you can connect with your peers and build your brand. But this means that you are going to need to learn the art of giving a keynote speech.

The Importance Of The Keynote Speaker

Many professional keynote speakers for hire have been honing their craft for many years before they even consider getting up in front of a large audience. The reason why is because delivering a keynote is much different then a regular speech because you are considered the headliner which means that the success of the event is going to rely on your ability to connect with and inspire the audience.

Even though there may be occasions (sometimes regularly!) when you are requested to give presentations in a business or public speaking environment, there will be times where you will be called upon to give a proper keynote speech and not a presentation. The major difference in these two types of expression exists in that the speech should be spoken and the presentation, on the other hand, should be read.

How To Give An Effective Keynote Speech

So how do you enunciate a keynote speech effectively; without sounding as if you are reading it like a shopping list?

The primary objective is to, upon completion of your speech, practice delivering it out loud. This means that you will need to go over it sufficiently enough so that you can read it with expression without making significant mistakes or pauses. You must know your speech inside and out, so you can convince your audience that you are confident of what you are saying.

The necessity to memorize your speech is completely up to you, but at the very least, it is important that you to at least memorize your opening 2 to 3 sentences. Without an argument, the opening of any speech is definitely the most difficult and challenging aspect of presenting, both to you and your audience. Getting through the opening of your speech smoothly and flawlessly will naturally boost your confidence, as well as that of your audience and make the rest of your speech infinitely easier.

In my personal experiences, there are two reasons why memorization can become a negative aspect for your speech delivery:

  1. There is always a lurking likelihood that you will forget parts of your speech and ultimately having difficulty remembering where you were; and,

  2. The possibility of sounding plain and monotonous, and therefore being unable to convince your target audience by holding their attention to your speech

Practice Your Keynote Speech

According to many motivational keynote speakers, if you practice your speech thoroughly and regularly, concentrating on your words and actually mulling over what you are about to say, you will find it very easy to acknowledge your audience throughout your speech. When you look up, definitely establish eye contact with your audience. Of course, you can’t have eye contact with everyone all at once, so at the very least, look in one general direction towards the audience, even if it is at a pint on the opposite wall, but be very careful not to stare.

Part of the secret of delivering a speech without sounding like you are reading is to have your attention focused more directly on your audience and a minimum on your material. When your eyes are constantly staring at your script, you will definitely not be able to make eye contact and that is a clear signal that you are reading, not speaking to them. Remember, delivering a speech means that you are speaking publicly, not reading publicly.

Look & Sound Natural

One of the biggest challenges for people who are just starting out is that they freeze up and look and sound like a robot. When this happens, the audience feels nervous for you and they stop paying attention to what you are saying.

Make sure to use variety in your voice when you speak and allow your facial expression and body language to further enhance your delivery. In doing so, you will be much more interesting to listen to and it will come off more natural.

If you can employ the above techniques, you will sound like you are talking to your listeners and not at them.

Essentially, you must treat your audience just as if you were having a polite conversation with them in your living room. If you see yourself in that scenario, they will definitely not be aware that you are reading to them, instead, you are speaking directly to them.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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