Some people are perhaps born with a golden tongue. With the power of speech, they enchant audiences and listeners with words as if bypassing doubt and planting ideas directly into their minds. In the medieval age, they may qualify as bards or storytellers. Even though the age of story-telling and inspiring through songs and ballads are mostly gone, the present day task still remains and as such, keynote speakers have taken the helm from heralds of the old. But not everyone is a born speaker. Not everyone have the natural talent for enchantment and captivation. However, that does not mean not everyone can do it. On the contrary, the art of public speaking can be trained. And like every art, from painting to sculpture, poetry to architecture, the craft of the keynote speaker can be trained. Here are a few tips on how to conduct a successful speech.
1. Research on your topic.
It is not enough that you know keywords or possess tangential knowledge on the subject matter. You simply cannot talk about things you do not know for a sustained period of time. Whether it is sales or leadership, it is fundamental for one to arm itself with the necessary knowledge. And with the modern technology of today, information is available world-wide, almost for free. Use the internet. Ignorance is no longer an excuse these days, it is now a choice.
2. Know your audience.
This idea goes on the same line with Sun Tzu’s “know yourself (your topic) and know your enemy and you shall gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles.” Learn about their values and sensibilities. Know their story as a group and learn to speak their language. Being a keynote speaker is all about communication. There is no point in standing on a podium for several minutes when not a single point is communicated across from paper to your audience. Also, a working knowledge about your listeners will help you immensely in the next step.
3. Have a sense of humor.
Too much seriousness, especially on a serious issue will often leave the air bland and the speech will induce sleep rather than command action. Throw in a few jokes here and there. Make sure your humor is appropriate for your audience. There is no use in throwing physics jokes to grade school students. Find the bright side in every topic you discuss and turn them into something humorous. Remember, there is humor in everything; it is just a matter of creativity and execution. Which leads to the next idea:
4. Connect everything together.
Whether it is a joke about the weather or an innovative approach on increasing sales, it is important that you connect things into more digestible chunks. That way, your audience will remember your ideas in a story-like fashion which is easier to recall than unrelated bits of information. There is a simple but very good way to practice this art: get a friend and a timer. Tell your friend to give you a word and for one minute, talk about everything you can about that word. After one minute has expired, have your friend give you another word. Now, for the succeeding minute, talk about the new word in relation to the first word you were given. Increase the number of words and time duration as necessary. Not only this exercise will chain random ideas together, it will help you think on your feet.
5. Communication is through execution.
As a keynote speaker, no matter how well-written or well-researched your speech is, communication can fail if you lack the proper execution. This art requires sensitivity and of course, practice. Execute your speech in a lively manner that will captivate the attention of your audience. Execution is the synthesis of everything you know and learned about good public speaking.