The words “keynote speaker” is a rather confusing term for most people. The term “keynote” comes from the words “keynote,” which is actually the key in which music groups (such as acapella groups) will sing a particular song. In events, meetings, and seminars, a keynote is a speech or talk that sets the “mood” of a certain theme. It serves as a summarization of the events or topics that will be discussed or could be used to emphasize a point that will be brought up several times. Keynote speeches are usually short, not going above an hour (including the Q&A portion if the segment has any).
It serves as a summarization of the events or topics that will be discussed or could be used to emphasize a point that will be brought up several times. Keynote speeches are usually short, not going above an hour (including the Q&A portion if the segment has any).
However, it should be kept in mind that a keynote speech and a keynote speaker are not the same as a motivational speech and a motivational speaker.
The goal of motivational speakers is to inspire and motivate their audiences. Keynote speakers, on the other hand, are selected because of their expertise and their ability to raise interest from audiences to attend an event.
Some events have an opening keynote speaker to open and outline what will be happening during a series of talks, and also have a closing speaker to do another keynote to summarize what happened during the end of the series and to further emphasize the underlying theme of it all.
Keynote speakers could actually range from motivational speakers, comedians, industry experts, to company CEOs. It all depends on their area of expertise and the type of event being held. For instance, a high school or college graduation ceremony would have a couple of successful alumni as keynote speakers.
In a seminar or a series of talks, the speaker tasked to deliver the keynote address will be the one to give an introductory talk before letting the other speakers present a deeper insight on their area of expertise. If the seminar is about comic book writing, the speaker could talk about the state of the local comics industry, the importance of comics, and perhaps cite some of his experiences with working in comics. After he has left the stage, the mood is properly set for the other invited speakers to segue into their own segments, which are more specific in terms of content. In a seminar about comic books, these speakers could talk about self-publishing, inking techniques, or what genres are popular nowadays.
One of the questions that could be raised when talking about keynote speakers is how much they earn. The more famous people within certain industries can earn from $80,000 to $250,000 per speech they give, with travel accommodations included if they’re traveling from place to place. Some keynote speakers ask for fees that could range from $15,000 or lower, while some actually just do keynote speeches for free (mostly to gain reputation). However, the latter is not recommended for those who want to make keynote speaking a profession, as they will most probably just keep on giving keynote speeches for free.
A good indication to tell if a keynote speaker is bad or good is to pay attention to what he’s saying. The mark of good keynote speakers is how they are able to get the audience buzzing with discussion or by presenting something about the lecture that the audience has not heard or known before.
One of the common mistakes that a bad keynote speaker makes is overloading the audience with information or by focusing on one aspect of the seminar instead of touching on the different aspects that make up its entirety. Bad keynote speakers also fail to capture the interest of the audience or get them more excited for the presentation of the next speakers.