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They say that the most common fear is the fear of public speaking. I get that. It’s scary, being the one in the hot seat with all those faces staring up at you, waiting for you to wow them. 

Expectations are high, and your audience is there to be informed and motivated. And it’s all got to come from you: The Keynote Speaker. 

So. How do you go about building a speech that will be life-changing? A talk that delivers on every level and moves people to act? Well, I have a few ideas for you. Here are four of my favorite tips to make a keynote speech stick:

  • It’s all about the story. Think back about all the presentations you ever had to sit through, starting in kindergarten. Which ones do you truly remember? Chances are, they are the ones that told a story. After all, we actually aren’t wired to remember a ton of facts, so if that’s what a speech focuses on, the audience will forget most of what they heard by the next day. Not particularly life-changing. But if the speaker tells a story, and – better yet – a funny story, it will stick with you for a long time! And remember, it’s okay and actually preferable, to tell more than one story. Sometimes it can be powerful to tell several small stories that illustrate your point. This tactic creates natural breaks and stops/starts, which helps to re-engage and refresh your audience, allowing their brains time and opportunity to categorize what you have shared. 
  • Come from left-field. If you go to places people don’t expect you to go, you have their full attention. Immediately, and fully. Which is what you want. For example, I actually am not interested in speaking at womens’ business conferences. Not because I don’t like my female colleagues, but because it puts me in a box right from the start. People will expect me to talk about being a woman in the business world. So I won’t – I’m going to choose a topic that changes the game right from the very first word. The first five minutes of your speech are critical. Make them count. 
  • Add visual stimulus. Over half of the brain is wired for visual information, and this type of information moves through the brain thousands of times faster than any other kind of information. Using this knowledge to build a presentation that will touch people on all levels, using slides and other visuals that drive an emotional response to complement your verbal message. 
  • Break a leg. Never forget that this is a performance. A keynote speaker is a performer, not a professor. Your physical location, energy, pacing, movement, and volume, are all vital to enhancing and empowering your delivery, so make sure these elements are on-point. The point of what you do is to challenge people to do something when they leave the room, to behave and move forward in a new way because of something you share with them. It’s why you do what you do, so give it all you’ve got!

I’m Anna-Vija McClain. My dream is to help people achieve their business dreams. Let me know how I can help you!

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