In the first part of our small series on “Keynote Speaking”, we saw that the developments and changes in the keynote speeches coincided with a high percentage of the organizers’ requirements and expectations. However, we also noticed that the trends, the techniques and tools used, and the content of the keynotes sometimes “get in each other’s way” – especially with regard to the time required for the speakers and their extended involvement in the entire event.

The main demands and developments – the tendency or trend – in keynote speeches will be going in the future in the following directions:

Clarity of Ideas in Keynote speeches – Engagement and Interaction

The clarity of the idea, the focus on the core theme and the interaction with the audience will continue to be the main theme and challenge for keynote speakers and their presentations.

Clarity of the idea

Transparent clear with content: Today it is no longer enough for a keynote speaker to be a classic motivational speaker. The requirements for a transparent-clear elaboration of a relevant, event-related idea or topic are still of high relevance; however, it is becoming increasingly important not only to illuminate this topic “ex cathedra” from the stage, but also to involve the participants in the discussion.

The main task of the keynote speaker is therefore increasingly to formulate and present the core idea in such a way that the participants not only understand the idea as such during the event, but also receive additional knowledge, information and suggestions in order to further develop the core idea together during the event.

Commitment: From Speaker to Partner

Originally, the keynote speaker stood alone on stage, unidirectionally passing on his knowledge and statements to the audience, whose only task was to listen attentively.

The demands and expectations of the participants (and also of the organizers) have changed fundamentally in recent years. In addition to the motivating presentation of a keynote speech, the development of a relationship between speaker and audience is becoming more and more important. The audience wants to be involved and this requires an extended engagement of the keynote speaker. The speaker’s personality and charisma continue to be of decisive importance, because according to current studies around three quarters of all participants attend a keynote speech first and foremost because of the speaker’s reputation.

Regardless of the speaker’s reputation, participants today have the right to be part of the presentation. They want to be able to share their ideas, comments and reactions with others during or at least immediately after the keynote speeches.

For their part, executives and organizers increasingly feel the need to spend more time with the keynote speaker and integrate him into the overall program of an event to benefit from his reputation, knowledge and motivational skills.

These requirements lead to the fact that the expected profile for keynote speakers becomes more and more diverse: the ability to interact with an audience, the competence and the will to integrate and use the current online tools and social networks in a presentation becomes more and more important and will soon be one of the basic requirements for a speaker.

Take-aways and know-how as added value

Both the conference organizers and the participants have common interests: new and more insights. Of course, this is not a completely new development, but what is new is that these findings should be available at ever shorter notice. More and more, and also faster and faster, are the wishes and demands to take home from a congress, from an event immediately and directly realizable knowledge.

This “take-away” expectation also calls for keynote speakers: both the content and the form of the presentations, but in particular the processing and communication of relevant findings and feasible ideas and suggestions will increasingly have to change to the extent that at least basic tips, hints and insights have to be communicated directly and comprehensibly to the participants.

Short and concise – the quintessence of keynote speeches

Short, concise and dense keynote speeches will increasingly replace emotional, “only” motivating presentations. This development is due to the general trend towards shorter and shorter “information bites” as we know them from the media and above all from social networks.

The attention span of listeners decreases. The one that does not receive within shortest time information, which he recognizes as relevant and goal leading, switches off, loses at attention and interest and evaluates accordingly the meeting (and in particular the Keynote speech) as not particularly well. For the speakers, this development represents an enormous rhetorical challenge, as they must be able to build up and complete a tension arc within a much shorter period of time than before and to distill and convey useful and relevant insights from it.

Conclusion

The new and increasing requirements for a keynote speech can therefore be summarized in the following points:

  • Strong and concrete topic of reference
  • Short and concisely formulated contents
  • Communication of findings that can be quickly implemented and applied
  • Interaction with the audience
  • Presence of the speaker beyond the actual speech

We would like to invite you to dive into the future of meeting design in a personal consultation and find out together with you and your team which trends, storytelling strategies and keynote speakers will be relevant for you and your company in the future!

You can read the last part of this article here.

The Event-Experience-Journey: On the “Pink! Way” to the ideal experience!