I'll do a longer piece of input - maybe 30-45 minutes. So far this has been on topics like practical approaches to collaborative problem solving, tips on leading effective engagement, the essentials of navigating change and uncertainty, leading teams though transition ... these would be models I have developed myself or adapted versions of content I have picked up through the years of delivering Art of Hosting Trainings.
Following this I'll take it out to table conversations where folks get to digest the content and apply it to their specific context. If we have enough time I'll do a world cafe style change up of the tables. I'll then hear back from the tables (specifically asking for themes not just personal soap boxes) and respond to comments and questions. Then a short pairs conversation on "what was most important for you today?", hear two or three and closing remarks from me and the sponsor/ organizer. I have also worked with a graphic recorder from Brave Space to capture the content and conversations. The graphic harvest then stays at the event and keeps people connected to what we have discovered together.
All this has been great and well received but I feel like I want to take it up a notch! What could I add to mix it up and make it better? I am thinking about video, media, theatre, arts, better slides, story, interactive voting - what would move it from upgraded teachings from leadership trainings and events to a cracking and unforgettable keynote ... without adding so many bells that it becomes outrageously expensive?!
I have been having a blast doing a few keynotes this year. It has mostly been audiences of 70-200 people in all kinds of settings - from International Port Authorities and Education Communications people to Disease Control professionals and Urban Planners. It has been a lot of fun and I feel like I am right at the beginning of learning how to do it well!
Keynotes can be a good gateway for those who want to explore new or alternative ways of doing things; a starting place to dig deeper. I think the best use of a keynote is to provoke people to figure out their own solutions in conversation with each other. Here's a video that shows a bit of what I have been working with and some talking through of how we have been designing the sessions afterwards. Hope it is helpful of others who are stepping into more speaking gigs and also really invite thoughts about what would make it better ...
I will normally start out by introducing myself and diving right into a bigger picture provocative presentation. This will usually involve me telling a few stories and a couple of jokes (varying quality ... ). It seems like a good way to get the room's attention, warm things up and get a read of the room. I then open up a conversation at the tables around "why is this important your work/life?" (or something like that) and hear 6-10 comments from around the room. Sometimes I'll respond to those comments, other times just let them come. Now we have people here and focused and given something of their own voices to the session we're ready to dive into something more practical and specific to the needs.
What has been the best keynote you have ever been to and why? I would love your input as I revise and upgrade!
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