Keynote Speaking: It’s not Brain Surgery!

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.

  • TL Walters

    Jane, I have found that doing a little research on the demographics and the cultural background of the audience has helped me to resonate with the hearers. It also seems to allow me to relax and really enjoy speaking to them. In smaller venues I have also tried to make it a practice, if the circumstances would allow, to arrive early and spend a short amount of time alone in the area where I will be speaking. I personally find that getting a feel for the venue, it’s acoustics and seating makes me more comfortable and confident, which, at least for me, removes a layer of distraction.
    Really appreciate Wealthy Speaker 2 and your newsletter. Looking forward to your next book.!

    • speakerlauncher

      Great advice TL! Thanks for sharing!

  • James “Skip” Hubbard

    Jane, I’m new at this “Motivational Speaking,” however I have been speaking for years at several A.A.& C.A. meetings. I have so much inside of me to express to the masses. If you are familiar with A.A. meetings you know that one must “shoot from the hip.” I have mastered that. I need coaching so I can transfer my experiences (not all “dope-a-logs”) to speak to others. I don’t have an issue with speaking in public. I have an issue with getting started. I am a SURE BET looking for a trained professional that can mentor me and get me out there.

    • speakerlauncher

      James, as you may know there is a big difference between “winging it” and crafting a terrific speech, which is ultimately why I’m writing this next book (The Epic Keynote). Feel free to be in touch with me if you’d like the steps to getting started as a professional speaker. And if you need coaching in the business, that’s me – with your speech, I can point you to a great coach.

  • Matt Mayberry

    Great blog Jane! I love your work especially your book. Thanks for all that you do.

    • speakerlauncher

      Thank you Matt! Stay tuned for more great stuff in The Epic Keynote!