What’s the #1 form of marketing?

By Jane Atkinson

Your #1 form of marketing is a great speech.

A great keynote speaker is someone who can keep an audience mesmerized for 30-90 minutes. They might have people go through a series of emotions or take them on a dramatic journey. Or their speech is packed with relevant, timely information. Some of the best speeches stay in your memory for years.

Here’s an example: Captain Gerry Coffee spoke at my very first NSA convention in Washington, DC, in 1996. I can recall vividly his story of being captured and held as a POW in the Vietnam War. He talked about how the prisoners developed a communication style between them. They used Morse Code to tap out messages to each other between the walls. In fact, I can still hear him using his hand to knock on the wood and how that echoed through the microphone. You could have heard a pin drop in that room of 1500 speakers and there was not a dry eye in the house. The fact that I can remember this so vividly nearly 20 years later tells me something.

[Tweet “Your speech is your best marketing tool “]

— so let’s get busy sharpening that tool!

[Tweet “There is no better form of marketing than a great speech”]

I’ve witnessed about a dozen epic keynotes over my 25 years in (ABOUT A DOZEN WHAT?) our business. Gerry Coffee’s was memorable and moving. Joe Calloway’s “Let it Go” speech contained a lasting “phrase that pays”. But it was also one of the most relevant speeches I’ve witnessed. Art Berg inspired us. I can still recall his phrase…”while the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer”. Les Brown’s Live Your Dreams speech literally changed the course of my life.

Have you witnessed an epic keynote? Please share with a comment.

PS: As luck would have it, my next book is perfect to help you sharpen your speech. The Epic Keynote: Presentation Skills and Styles of Wealthy Speakers is due out in May 2014. Click here to be notified when it ready.