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Delivering a keynote speech or a keynote address is one of the most prominent thought leadership channels you have. In front of peers, influencers, and potential clients you have the time, the space, and the freedom to deliver your perspective on a problem, challenge, idea, or future. It’s an opportunity not to be missed and a cornerstone of any thought leadership strategy.

Securing a keynote speaking slot isn’t easy. You’ll need to convince an event organiser to take a chance on you, proving your worth and competence by offering up samples of content and, most often, speeches and presentations at other events. You’ll need to pitch the organisers on why you are an essential voice, how you can complement the other speakers at the event, and why your take on the issue of the day deserves to be heard. You likely won’t land the first keynote speaking slot you shoot for, but the high profile that comes from a speaking slot makes it worth the effort all the same.

Once you have secured a keynote slot you’ll need to spend hours preparing for your speech. Of course you’ll need to write your speech and work on some slides and supports, if necessary and allowed by the organisers. But your preparation needs to move beyond crafting the perfect speech or presentation and focus on the delivery. You should arrive on stage knowing every word of the speech, every time you need to pause for laughs or applause, every hand movement you’ll make and facial expression you’ll adopt, and you’ll need to know exactly when to move forward through that slide deck you spent hours working on.

Typically a twenty minute keynote speech demands twenty hours of preparation. With time, and especially if you give a speech more than once – you’ll be able to reduce this time, but as a rule of thumb it stands. Your audience and the event organiser are both counting on you to deliver – don’t disappoint them by not preparing effectively for the speech.

Like what you’re reading? This is an extract from the eBook Thought Leadership: A to Z. Get you free copy of this exclusive eBook here.



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