Pro speakers for the perfect keynote presentation

Two years ago I was asked to give a talk on my HubSpot article on emotional marketing. It was by far the most exciting and nerve-wracking experience of my professional life.

I don’t necessarily hate speaking publicly. In the run-up to the event, however, I felt fully responsible for not only delivering a good presentation, but also providing valuable, actionable information to the audience – and that was very intimidating.

I wanted to do a good job and I wanted to be a good teacher.

This is where the importance of keynote presentations lies: to be effective, they should be educational and entertaining. Do you have a keynote presentation in the future? Read on for advice from professional speakers.

What is a keynote presentation? I’m glad you asked.

You may also be hired to hold a keynote presentation to secure funding, make a sale, or update stakeholders or executives. No matter what stage you’re on, making a keynote presentation is an important task as a speaker.

How to give a perfect keynote presentation, say the experts

I spoke to four professional speakers about how to deliver a near-perfect presentation. Here are five pieces of advice they shared.

1. Sample, sample, sample.

When it comes to public speaking, practice literally makes perfect. Every expert I’ve spoken to mentioned how often they rehearse their presentations.

“No matter how much you think you have to rehearse, rehearse ten times more. When you show up to a concert you expect the musicians to know their songs, and you certainly don’t want to be on stage the first time they try to play it. You owe the same respect to your audience and the people you hire, ”said Melanie Deziel, international keynote speaker and founder of StoryFuel. (She received this advice herself from Michael and Amy Port at Heroic Public Speaking.)

Melanie Deziel Keynote Speaker Hubspot

Provided by Melanie Deziel

The more presentations and events that become fully virtual, the greater the likelihood of technical difficulties. Repeating your content can help you survive interruptions or last minute changes.

The rehearsal not only leads to mastery of the content; It allows freedom in your presentations. “The more you rehearse and familiarize yourself with the content, the freer you can take risks, experiment and really focus on your delivery rather than remembering what’s next,” said Deziel.

How do these experts recommend practicing your presentations? “[Use] a mirror, ”said Olivia Scott, keynote speaker and founder of Omerge Alliances. “I take the time to see how I am being received, I look at my posture and I look at everything to make sure I feel good about what I am doing. This is not exactly a tool or technology, but it is a way to practice and rehearse. “

Olivia Scott Keynote Presentation Hubspot


Also, ask friends, family, and trusted coworkers to listen to your practice runs and provide feedback on your presentation.

2. Ask for feedback.

When it comes to feedback, experts know they need to ask for it regularly – from friends, peer groups, mentors, viewers, and customers. “Find a support crew and connect with other speakers in the industry,” said Karen Hopper, keynote speaker and data strategist at M + R. Hopper personally recommends Shine Bootcamp, which builds on her lifelong friendships, helpful feedback and invaluable education public speaking.

Karen Hopper Keynote Presentation Hubspot

Courtesy of Karen Hopper

“We help each other with feedback on our pitches, topics, outlines and presentations and celebrate each other’s victories,” said Hopper. “… It pays to surround yourself with people who cheer you on and give you honest feedback. The fastest way to get better is to seek that feedback ruthlessly.”

Customers can also be an incredibly helpful source of feedback. If asked to speak at an event or conference, ask the people you’ve hired. “Immediately after each presentation, I ask my customer what their reaction is. It is important to know how you felt and whether the presentation achieved its goals. Every time my client is satisfied, this is my most successful presentation, ”said Jeff Toister, keynote speaker, author and customer service expert.

Jeff Toister Keynote speaks Hubspot


After all, often the best feedback comes from the source – in this case, your audience. Whether you are asking questions during your presentation (which we will discuss next) or asking for feedback after your presentation, knowing what your audience thought about your keynote is never a bad idea.

Feedback may be different for a remote Keynote presentation, but it is still possible.

“It was a creative challenge adapting a presentation that I personally wanted to give to work in a virtual environment. It’s much more difficult to tell how your presentations will be received online without seeing nods and notes, and hearing laughs and claps But all the feedback I’ve received [over email] I pointed out that my talk successfully changed the way many people think about their process of generating content ideas. This was the ultimate goal of the talk: to change the way people think, Announced Deziel, referring to her recent keynote at Content Marketing World 2020.

3. Engage your audience.

Nobody likes to be spoken to. Sure, if you’re giving a Keynote presentation, you have to have most of the conversation, but it doesn’t have to be a one-way conversation. Many of the experts I interviewed encouraged some type of audience engagement or interaction to improve your presentation.

“People love to be part of a presentation. Instead of explaining a concept to my audience, I find a way to experience it, ”said Toister. “For example, when I tell how multitasking affects productivity and leads to more errors, the audience needs to do a short multitasking exercise so they can experience the problem for themselves.”

Did you know that audience engagement drops significantly (14%) when a presenter does most of the conversation as opposed to when the audience speaks as much? Additionally, 64% of people believe that a two-way presentation is much more engaging than a one-way presentation.

Dedication to presentations also takes practice – just like your presentation content itself. “… Entertainment comes from the performance itself: the way you deliver that content and the energy you devote to delivering it. This is a separate skill that you need to practice. Work with a coach, look at your own footage to identify opportunities to improve your craft, and watch videos from top comedians, poets, and other speakers to see what you can learn from them ” , encouraged Deziel.

As important as engagement is, don’t let technology get in the way. While smartphones and query software can make it easier to interact with your audience, they can also hinder the connection with your audience. “I prefer to just have people stand up, raise their hand, or clap to take the survey. It gets the audience moving and I don’t have to worry about WiFi connections or whether the query software is working, ”said Toister.

4. Prioritize your content the same way you prioritize delivery.

While entertaining and interacting with your audience is helpful and exciting, it shouldn’t take precedence over your presentation content. “Almost everything the audience can learn from you comes from the content: the stories you tell, the examples you share, the facts you quote, and the other information you explain. Carefully crafting and testing these materials will ensure that the audience gets the information they promised from your session, ”said Deziel.

Tools like PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, and Canva can help you improve your content and develop a story in your presentation. A 2018 Prezi study (another presentation tool option) showed that 90% of people believe that a strong narrative leads to a more engaging and interesting presentation. Data can help build arguments and explain facts, but stories stick with your audience long after your time on the stage.

Storytelling is another way to connect with your audience, especially by evoking emotions like humor. “It’s fun to ask questions and say,” Can someone relate to this? Has anyone had this type of experience before? “And then made her laugh at the experience. Laughing always helps, ”said Scott, who presented at INBOUND 2020.

Hopper, who was also a breakout spokesperson at INBOUND 2020, agreed, “Don’t be afraid to be funny or joke – there are studies showing that laughing actually helps your brain store information better, and so do you Not only is your audience a good time to have a laugh with you, but they will get more out of your presentation too. It’s a win-win situation! “

5. Focus on the audience.

After all, anyone can agree that public speaking is either revered or feared. If you relate to the latter and are nervous about presentations, focus on the audience.

“Speakers tend to get nervous when they focus on themselves and worry too much about their own performance. When you focus on your audience first, you get nervous and draw your attention to the fact that your audience is getting something valuable from your keynote, ”said Toister.

That is the goal of a keynote presentation – to add value to your audience. No matter what story you tell, what tools you use, or how you address the crowd, as long as you give a presentation that inspires your audience to think differently for themselves for 30 minutes, you have given a perfect keynote presentation.

Note: HubSpot marketing teams reserve the right to use guest blog writer resemblance in our content at their discretion, including, but not limited to, HubSpot’s social media channels.

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