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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