Being invited to be among the keynote speakers can be both exciting and daunting, especially if it’s your first time to be asked for the task. Standing on the podium, talking to a hundred or so people, and reading or delivering your speech can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you’re the type to get jitters, don’t worry. You can be one of the greatest keynote speakers there are with these tips:
1.Know your audience early on. Ask about the crowd who would be listening to you. It is better to determine whether they are businessmen, students, or young professionals. If possible get the average age group. This information will help you tailor your speech to their age level, interests, or needs.
One of the pitfalls of some keynote speakers is that they deliver the right message to the wrong crowd, or vice versa. Some speakers give really interesting topics but which fall into deaf ears simply because the piece lacks certain elements that would pique the audience’s curiosity. For example, students prefer jokes in between speeches.
Critically-acclaimed British author Neil Gaiman delivered his “Make Good Art” speech before hundreds of University of the Arts graduates in 2012. Gaiman touched six essential points, which are actually his tips for a successful career in the arts. The speech was more than 20 minutes long, but because of his humor and wisdom, he was able to maintain the attention of his audience.
2.Research about your topic very well. Usually schools and companies would provide their themes for the occasion. Use these themes to be your guide as you write your speech down. Proper preparation before you deliver the speech is also important. Nothing ruins an occasion more than a haphazardly-done speech. Take time as you write your draft. Read on trends and survey results. Brush up on your knowledge of current affairs. Best of all, know every detail about the topic provided.
3.Prepare a relevant speech. Avoid being preachy. Instead, make your tone conversational. Ask yourself what your audience would best appreciate. Also, keep away from the “Me, Myself, and I Syndrome”. Talk about your audience. Include your experiences to help them, but the limelight should not be too focused on yourself.
4.Practice the right way of delivering a speech. The best keynote speakers are those who make their voices and messages clear. They make it a point to speak with the correct accent and pronunciation. Organize your speech so that it has a catchy introduction, a substantial body, and an applause-worthy conclusion. Practice also prevents rambling on the big day.
When you practice, do so in front of the mirror. If it would help to keep a copy of your speech, then you may also bring that every time you practice. This technique shakes off stage fright. But if you want to appear more confident to your audience, it is advised that you know your speech by heart. You don’t have to memorize the speech entirely, but you should be looking at your audience at least 80 percent of the time.
5.Watch videos and read speech transcripts from reputable keynote speakers. You can learn a lot just by listening to the content of their messages, and by looking closely at their facial expressions and gestures. Study where they put emphasis in their words. Imitate how they conduct themselves in front of the audience. These videos will definitely help you as you prepare for your own speech.
Last but not the least, have fun while delivering your speech and don’t forget to give your audience a genuine smile.