A keynote speaker is someone who sets the tone for the audience.

A capable person on stage, they introduce the topic of their choosing and, assuming the topic is of interest to us listeners and proceeds to set the tone.

Like all types of speakers, keynotes have a core theme that is highlighted throughout the presentation. This core theme is the journey that the keynote speakers takes us on. As they explain key points and shares their thoughts, you begin to understand the purpose of this journey.

If you have gained value at the end of the keynote, whether it be new thoughts, perspectives, and realization, the speaker succeeded in their mission. There has been an increasing demand for these performers on stage, and as someone who can introduce a certain train of thought for everyone throughout the event, speakers are highly sought after.

Why are they effective?

Presentation is key in almost every form of interaction.

Good writing, great conversation, and well-fitted clothing: these all add to the general impression one can get.

Keynote speakers capture the core part of the theme through a presentation. As this is their method of choice to convey to the audience, a well-executed presentation can leave a lasting impression on those who listen. That is what the audience is there for and that is what lies at the essence of a great keynote.

Furthermore, since there is limited time in a keynote, speakers are made to introduce the most important highlights to the audience. This creates relevancy and adds to the overall value that we seek.

In order to do this, speakers are prepared: they thoroughly research the issues that need to be discussed, the industry it is in, and the audience themselves. All this is preparation for a 40-minute talk: while some speakers drone for too long, others may leave out important details. Keynote speakers give an effective keynote right in the sweet spot.

The best part? Every speaker is different, and therefore every keynote is different. The talks are unique, and only for the audience to see. Instead of witnessing a speaker’s antics from far away via blog posts and social media, seeing them voice their thoughts on stage is the closest to conversing with them.

The difference between listening and reading

You could take the time to research these things yourself. If it was a field of your interest, maybe you could reach the same conclusions.

But, how do you know if your conclusions are justified? What if there was more knowledge that you did not know about?

This is where a keynote speaker comes in: they introduce their side of the story.

Compared to reading an article, the stage has more impact. The keynote speaker is an article talking to you, introducing their own model of the world and what they observed. Granted, an article may do the same – but there are difficulties in articulation that a blog post can face.

A keynote speaker talking towards the audience, towards you, makes the story more believable. As they craft and articulate their words, the most important points are being presented to you immediately. In essence, they can help you think.

With keynote speakers in front of you, they make the theme clear to understand and guide you in addressing it.

The greatest reassurance for us listeners is that they have their bodies on stage. Many signals can be found in one’s non-verbal communication patterns, and these signals help us understand the topic better.

Whether it be the tone, movement of the body, or the speed, the speaker’s movements act as markers to help guide us through their speech. If they are there for us, this makes them trustworthy and adds accountability to their name.

You would need a keynote speaker at your event to set the first note. It’s where the name came from: singers sing the first note before a song to set the key. Your key is the mood and the attention of the audience.

Starting off with a great opener, and setting in stone the topic of the day, a great keynote speaker knows what to do and say. With enough presence on stage, they can influence everyone’s thoughts.

Presence is key in speaking after all.