I interviewed some of my favorite professional keynote speakers for this article and narrowed down their information into some really valuable key points.
Decide how you will start and how you will end your speech.
The two most important parts of any speech are the opening and closing. If your beginning and ending stink, nobody will care about the middle. Tell your second funniest joke first and your funniest joke last. Close with a powerful ending.
Create an agenda. Your objective has to be dramatic and mean something to your audience
You have to have a dramatic agenda. If you are going to explain what you will talk about, it should have some impact. Be creative! Find a way for introducing your agenda that is personal, that everyone can relate to. That is not about YOU. Knowing your audience means knowing what they value. You can only influence people if you know what they value. The body of the speech: Point-Story-Point
A superior method for developing the body of your speech is to use point-story-point.
Here is the formula: Opening – Agenda – Point – Story – Point (repeat as necessary) – Close Make a point; tell a story, then cap with a point again. Make a point, use a story to illustrate the point and then make the point again in a different way.
Additional tips for developing stories and making points.
Very good stories are short stories that make a strong point. No one wants to hear your long stories. They don’t care. There are not any good long stories. Some people can get away with a long story such as Bill Cosby. However, most people are not Bill Cosby or Lewis Black. A vignette has a point. People learn from stories. They are the number one vehicle for knowledge and inspiration. You can teach, inspire and entertain with a story. HUGE TIP: Never be the hero of your own story. People will not put up with it. Find a way to tell the story in which you learn the lesson, not a story that exemplifies your greatness. You have to be funny and confident if you are going to make yourself the butt of a joke. You can have a giant monster ego, but to influence people you have to manage your ego and tell a story that delivers THEM the tools for success without sounding like your Moses with the tablets. Vignettes can be complex; they can deliver a message that spreads throughout the keynote but you have to be centralized enough that you do not wander off to where you’re speaking about something completely different. Most motivational speakers are criticized because they hammered the same 3 points repeatedly. Do not do this. Most speakers do not have enough points and tell too many stories with the same boring point. Points should be different but connected enough that they should be able to live together comfortably in the same speech. Make use of callbacks. A callback is a point that calls back to another point (or story). If a story is good but your point is not, you went along way to deliver nothing. When you give a point, tell an enjoyable story and make point again, they enjoy the story. You may not be a sophisticated comedian, but you can still hold their attention very well if you make a good point, tell a story that supports it and then make the point again in a different and dramatic story. If you do not give the point upfront, people will not where your going and will not want to follow you. Entertainment is when people have a general idea of what is coming but are surprised or impressed by what shows up.
Tips for customization:
Research on your client or audience. What are the demographics? Define the outcome of the presentation: What do you want your audience to walk away with? Are they going to leave with tools to deal with life’s challenges? An inspiring message? Do you want them to believe in themselves more? Depending on your topic, it might help to speak to a few people within the organization in addition to the person who hired you or ask you speak.
Ginger Dailey has worked with professional speakers for the last ten years in the areas of brand development, creating effective marketing materials, successfully working with speakers bureaus, internet marketing and event coordination. She was voted NSA Houston partner of the year in 2005.