Finding the best speaker for your upcoming event is paramount to the success of the conference. But discovering a thought provoking presentation is not always easy. The hunt for keynote speaker ideas has brought you to my website, so I hope you will take a look at my information. Maybe I am the perfect speaker for your event!
A good keynote speaker is easy to find. However, a great keynote speaker is about more than choosing anyone with a New York Times bestseller. A mix both content and speaking skills is what makes for amazing motivational speakers.
Having worked full time as a keynote speaker for over a decade, I have seen some really incredible people take the stage at corporate and association events. I have seen business leaders, astronauts, Olympic medalists, adventures, authors, comedians, politicians, YouTubers, etc.. The ideas that are shared by most speakers are both interesting and educational. Yet the speakers that stand out have something more.
The words my clients use to describe why they liked having me speak at their events include: high energy, engaging, purposeful, interactive, and funny. I surveyed fifty past clients and asked for a single word, and these were the top ones that were given. These made me fill with pride, as all of them top the list of the five traits I think you should be looking for as you explore your keynote speaker ideas.
Top 5 Traits of a Great Speaker
- High Energy. A key thing to look for in a speaker is their energy level. Good content is very important, but if delivered in a dull manner it will kill the mood of your conference. Speaking skills are not natural for many people, and when they take the stage their concern for how they will appear to the audience makes them put their focus on data. Yes, the information is important, but we have all sat through smart people delivering horrible talks. When good energy is conveyed from the speaker to the audience, in combination with great content, that is when you have a memorable keynote.
- Engaging. To engage an audience the speaker must let their personality shine through in every word. When a speaker is a storyteller people lean in. The human brain is wired to hear stories. Thousands of years ago people did not sit around campfires and show pie charts and pass out excel spreadsheets. They told stories. When you speaker combines information with engaging stories you have found the winner.
- Purposeful. A speaker who knows why they are on your stage is a great speaker. Do you know the how and why the presenters you chose became speakers? That “why” makes all the difference. If their purpose is clear, and it is about serving your audience, you will feel the difference in how the audience relates to the message. A speaker who is clearly there to better your event will be the one who has impact.
- Interactive. Years ago conference participants expected some gilded expert to come and talk at them. But the age of the “sage on the stage” is long gone. Today’s audiences want more. They want to be part of the presentation. They want speakers to be a peer, not a guru. Speakers who get the audience to share ideas, and then can talk to the direction created on the spot, are what you want.
- Funny. A laugh is interactive. We get so caught up in content, that we forget that humor is a sheared experience. If a speaker can do all of the above and get the audience to laugh throughout the talk, then we have all the pieces to the puzzle.
As you look for great keynote speaker ideas to create the short list of speakers you will consider, put each person through the above five tips. Smart alone is not enough. You need speakers who can relate to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Look for those who will educate and inspire.
Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies / emcee. He is the host of the entrepreneur podcast, “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” and the author of 12 books.