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The Right Keynote Speaker Makes All the Difference
By Joel Garfinkle
Selecting the right keynote speaker can mean the difference between a successful corporate conference and a colossal waste of time. It can be overwhelming to locate the right professional keynote speaker. Denver, San Francisco, New York, and other cities are teeming with speakers who claim to provide keynote speeches that inspire and teach, but if you are committed to excellence, you’ll need to choose carefully.
First you must determine your goal for the event, whether it’s to increase productivity among your employees or to nurture leadership in your management team. Then you must find a keynote speaker who can deliver on that goal.
Here are five elements to look for in a keynote speaker who will be a good match for your company and your event’s objectives.
- Experience and credentials.
Although a less-experienced speaker may be more economical for your event budget, a speaker with top-notch credentials will be a better long-term investment. Where else has your candidate worked? Look for experience presenting to companies similar to yours in focus, philosophy, and culture. Read the testimonials on your candidates’ websites, and contact references. A speaker who has published relevant articles and books will demonstrate expertise in the issues you wish to address.
In order to reach your conference participants, the keynote speaker must truly know your company and its people, environment, and culture. Look for someone who understands your conference objectives and will spend significant time preparing for your event by gathering information, communicating with event coordinators, and interviewing key participants. A great professional keynote speaker will be flexible, adapting the presentation to your company’s culture, to your employees’ needs, and to the style and tone of your event.
- Presentation format.
A keynote presentation should not be merely a lecture or a platform for speakers to sell their own services. Look for a speaker who offers a variety of formats, from structured self-inquiry to small-group activities to facilitated audience discussions. Judicious use of multimedia is another beneficial element in a great keynote address, balancing video and slideshow presentations with speaking and interacting with the audience.
- Speaking style.
When researching your candidates, watch videos of them in action. You know your company and employees, and you know what kind of speaking style will be accessible to them and their working environment. Most professional keynote speakers, in Denver and across the nation, have videos on their websites. Watch them, and try imagine them speaking at your event. Do they use motivational stories to create a dynamic talk, or do they dryly state their points? A speaker who races through content without pausing to gauge audience reaction can be just as ineffective as one who is plodding or hesitant. It’s important to have a speaking style that challenges and engages audiences.
- Immediate, measurable results.
Conferences and seminars are designed to leave employees inspired and motivated. Your employees should be able to implement what they have learned immediately. Look for a keynote speaker who will provide participants with skills that they can take straight back to their desks, so they can begin transforming your company into a more productive and profitable enterprise.
Booking the right professional keynote speaker will make all the difference in your event, and in your company.
Looking for a professional keynote speaker in Denver or anywhere else? Joel Garfinkle is an inspirational speaker who possesses these five qualities in abundance.
Copyright © 2012 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"
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