Congrats on being a keynote speaker! I’m sure you’re aware of the pressure that comes with it. Regardless if you’re an experienced presenter or a newbie when it comes to creating and delivering a keynote speech presentation, there’s always room for improvement.
Here are some improvement points we usually share with our clients:
1. Start with “why”
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, made this theory popular in business (and design):
People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it.
Also read: 5 Pro Tips For Giving Better Presentations
If you want to connect with your audience and play the emotion card, this is one of the best ways to do it. Start with the reason behind your keynote speech topic.
I’ll let Simon here explain the concept in detail:
2. Reduce text to a minimum
A general rule for presentations but a holy one for keynote speeches. The presentation delivery is the focus here, that’s why people came to see and hear you (and probably paid a lot of money for it). If they wanted the short description on a slide they could have stayed home and Googled your blog or social media profiles.
Keep your slides focused on one theme at a time. One slide, one theme, one text line.
3. Use engaging visuals
If you’re speaking on a more technical subject or simply have a lot of complex data to share, translate it in simple graphs that come together to form a natural part of your story.
Keynote speeches are about stories not stats. Icons are your friend, if they have a simple, sleek design. The more familiar people are with those icons, the better. They will process and retain the information much faster.
As for bullet points, even though some people recommend them to help organize information in regular presentations, they don’t belong in any keynote speech. One line, remember?
4. Design matters more than you think
Let’s not forget what year this is. Presentations such as this one can make your audience very, very sad. Tears may be involved.
Opt for simplicity when designing your presentation. Use a legible font and type size. Don’t use eccentric fonts that will make it impossible to make out the actual words. Also, don’t use the default font. Stick to standard, easy-to-read fonts, preferably sans-serif (fonts such as Arial or Helvetica).
Be careful when selecting your colors - if you’re going to hold the presentation in a dark room, opt for a light slide background and vice-versa.
5. Ask questions
Step in your audience’s shoes and try to view your presentation from their point of view. Wouldn’t it be nice to be involved somehow?
Asking questions is a great way to engage with your audience, to get them involves and to make them feel part of your story.
You can also have a tweet-able slide once in a while with a short (less than 140 characters) idea and a tweet sign.
6. Go off script
Do something unexpected with your presentation. Rewrite the rules and create your own structure; for example you can use only images.
I mean, why not start with a “thank you” slide? You could thank people for coming to hear you speak. Or you could add a contact slide in the middle as a joke, to regain people’s attention if you feel like your presentation is going to feel long.
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to be different. That’s the essence of keynote speakers.
Get inspired by Seth Godin, a true master of different presentations:
7. Use GIFs
It’s hard not to love GIFs. They can evoque any emotion, or even a set of emotions in a matter of milliseconds. Wield the power of GIFs and you will win people’s hearts and minds.