A lot is asked from keynote speakers. They are tasked to come up with a compelling message presenting the essence of the event they will be talking in. They are then required to present it in front of a large audience with the hopes that they will better understand the theme of the event and become motivated to process and accept the ideas to be presented. They must make speeches with which the audience can easily relate with. Finally, they must present their ideas under pressure, in an environment where many people will be observing every word they say and every movement they make.
In light of those facts, it should not be surprising that quite a lot of speakers have made errors in making and delivering their speeches. No one is perfect. Any keynote speaker can expect to make at least one error per speech. In order to avoid repeating the same mistakes, one should take note of any mistakes, even those from other speakers, and take steps to correct them.
Here are the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1) Saying too much/saying too little
One should remember that the content of the speech is the most important aspect of any keynote address. As such, one should make sure that the speech contains just enough information to make the audience curious for more. There must be at least one clear idea present in the speech. It is better to focus on one idea and then place additional ideas which complement the main idea. This ensures that the speech has enough substance but is not crowded with irrelevant facts.
2) Not creating an outline
The purpose of an outline is to provide a structure with which to base the speech. Neglecting the outline might result in a disorganized speech which lacks unity and strength. By creating an outline, a keynote speaker can ensure that ideas are clearly conveyed to the audience in the proper sequence and fashion.
3) Not practicing enough
Creating the speech is not enough. One still has to consider the delivery of the speech. Besides, no matter how experienced someone is with public speaking, anyone can still benefit from some practice. Keynote speakers can practice their pronunciation, use of words, intonation, gestures, and more aspects of their speech. They can also spot weaknesses early and make steps to fix them. Furthermore, if speakers practice in front of groups of people, they can receive feedback which will help them improve.
4) Making a boring speech
Even if a speech is packed with the right amount of information, it becomes useless if it is presented in an uninteresting manner. One of the tasks of a keynote speaker is to generate interest, and there is no way a speaker can do that with a boring speech. It is up to the speaker to figure out how to capture the attention of the audience. Many decide to use humor in their speech. Others use rich media, like music and images, to increase audience impact. Some even sing or dance.
5) Distracting the audience from the speech
Adding variety to a keynote address is essential but should not be overdone. A keynote speaker must remember that it is the speech that really matters in the end. Everything that occurs onstage must contribute to the overall message of the speech. One should avoid mannerisms or other gestures which might be too distracting for the audience. One should also remember to reserve the fire breathing act for the circus, not the conference room.
6) Showing weakness and hesitation
Finally, it is important to present one’s best version when onstage. A good keynote speaker is one who is confident and shows strength. People will be more willing to be persuaded by someone who radiates the right amount of confidence. There are many ways to increase someone’s confidence, such as power poses or self-encouragement.
Knowing what to avoid when it comes to making a keynote address is critical in minimizing mistakes and making an excellent speech. By analyzing mistakes, any speaker can excel onstage and move people into action.
Keynote speakers can practice their pronunciation, use of words, intonation, gestures, and more aspects of their speech.