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On the Road as a Keynote Speaker

On the Road as a Keynote Speaker, 5 Pitfalls Can Ruin a Speech

Travelling on the road as a keynote speaker is more than just climbing aboard a plane, delivering a speech to a large group of people, and heading back home.

As a keynote speaker, I’m frequently on the road to give talks on everything from cultivating executive presence to achieving work/life balance and minimizing stress.

Even the most transformative motivational speech will fall apart if certain factors aren’t just right—for instance, if half the audience can’t hear the speaker.

A lot of intricate factors must come together to make a presentation a genuinely satisfying experience for every member of the audience. For starters, the host needs to know how to introduce the keynote speaker, and I typically share a brief bio to help them with that task.

An in-demand keynote speaker, who’s on the road a lot, I might speak in front of groups of people ranging from 25 to 525. This means delivering speeches in anything from small corporate boardrooms to large convention centers.

Making the room work for you is essential to your success. In the extensive time I’ve put in on the road, delivering keynote speeches in all manner of venues, I’ve come up with a list of key tips that will help anyone prepare their venue for a speaker. Following these five key tips will help you make the most of your speaker’s time and get the maximum return on your investment.

  1. Make sure the room is set up so that everyone can see the speaker. This means not having any obstructions in the way that can block people’s view, requiring them to move their head from side to side to get a glimpse of the speaker. Move chairs closer to the stage if possible to encourage interaction and eye contact. Certain factors may be beyond your control, but do your best.
  2. Test the microphone and sound system. Nothing kills the mood more than calling in technical support when you have the audience at the edge of their seats. In smaller groups, if a microphone is not available, the speaker may be able to speak loudly and clearly enough for the venue. I usually find it best to move around continually to let my voice travel throughout the room.
  3. Is the audience comfortable? A room that’s too hot or that has the air conditioner blasting can make the audience uncomfortable enough to distract them from what they’re listening to. (And you hardly want your speaker to be sweating or shivering up on stage, too!) Ask the event organizers to adjust the temperature to make sure the audience and speaker are comfortable.
  4. Walking around freely is critical. Although some motivational speakers can be effective while standing in one spot, moving around the room helps keep the audience engaged. Make sure you’re set up to allow movement. If the speaker doesn’t need a podium, have it removed so all the focus is on the presenter.
  5. Have the lighting adjusted. This is one factor that you’ve got to get right. Lighting helps put your motivational speaker in the spotlight–literally. The focus needs to be on the presenter, and proper lighting accomplishes that goal.

Remember, you’ve hired the speaker to deliver a powerful speech to kick off your event. Make sure that person has everything necessary to deliver the best possible results!

Want your event to be a stellar success where the keynote speaker over-delivers? Hire one of the top keynote speakers in the nation to engage your employees.

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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