Want to do a keynote?  Most people start by getting out the slides which is not the best practice for a corporate speechwriter. Here are nine questions to help you plan your talk.

  1. How do people perceive you now? Honestly. No,honestly.  Get some unbiased feedback from someone who does not work for you. Go and get training.
  2. How do you want people to think of you in a years time after the next 20 talks and how does this fit into that? Put a stake in the ground.  Think of this of just a series of stump talks.
  3. For this talk specifically, who is in the audience and what do they care about / what’s hot right now on their mind?
  4. What do you want them to believe / think differently after the talk?  You have a chance to inform, to educate or create believers .. try for the latter.
  5. Whats on their mind preventing them from believing you? Your style, your company, what you are saying, their misconceptions?
  6. Based on this what is your one big message? (Not something you want to inform them of .. something you want them to believe).  A short assertion statement that is credible, provable, different and unique to you.
  7. What are the 5-7 points you need to make to get that message? Not messages – just things you need to say / points you need to make to get it across.  These become your slides.  Remember .. a maximum of one slide every 2 minutes (and then cut it by 50%).
  8. What are your opening and closing statements?  Write these down on a piece of paper and practice them. Once a subject matter expert gets going they are fine … they just need to kick it off and wrap it up well. Everyone remembers only what you first and last said.
  9. In terms of the jokes .. its not really about jokes its empathy. You are looking for people to say ’ this guy gets it ..’ Avoid jokes unless you are good at them. Question here is: how can you get them on your side to listen to your serious message?