Keynote Speaking: It’s not Brain Surgery!

By Jane Atkinson

I just hung up from a coaching call with one of my clients who happens to be a surgeon. It got me wondering, how hard is speaking, really?

It may not be brain surgery, but you really do need some skills and techniques.

While prepping my next book, “The Epic Keynote: Presentation Skills and Styles of Wealthy Speakers”, I’ve come to realize that not all keynoters are created equal. In fact, some of the talent that I have enlisted to provide ideas are rock stars in the world of keynotes.

Here are 3 quick tips:

Keynote SpeechesCRAFT YOUR WORDS: Victoria LaBalme says “Writing your speech down on paper is effective for many reasons, but one good reason is to look at each word and ask yourself “can I say this better?” For instance you might want to use a 50 cent word (a descriptive, intriguing word) rather than a 5 cent word (yawn) to describe something.”

My client (the surgeon) loved this idea!

USE TECHNOLOGY:  Tech expert Scott Klososky says, “I use to allow the audience to send questions right from their mobile devices to me on stage.  I can then just answer them, or I can throw the questions up on the big screen if I like.  I can also open voting and let people send ideas and have the audience vote on what ideas they like.” 

ADD SOME HUMOR: When discussing how to punch up your speech with humor, David Glickman says: “If you’ve watched professional sports on television, there is usually one of the announcers whose sole role is to offer color commentary on the other announcer’s ‘play by play’ (factual info) of what’s happening. So that’s what you’re doing—except that you’re offering your own commentary (the funny line you’ve added later) on the comment (point, fact, story) you have in the original script.

Want an example? Here are two lines from a speech you might deliver: “It’s human nature to resist change. People have always resisted change.” Now here are the same two lines with a ‘comment on the comment’: “It’s human nature to resist change. People have always resisted change. I’m sure when the caveman invented the wheel his co-workers were saying things like, ‘Oh, like that’s going to work! Yeah. Right. And how exactly do you stop it once it’s rolling out of control? I think we’ll stick with our square, thank you very much.”

Small things like examining your language, adding technology and punching up your speech with humor can make a BIG difference!

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

ps: What are some of your favorite speech techniques? Please leave your comments below.