The worst thing that a keynote speaker can do is leave his audience feeling bored stiff. To prevent this problem from cropping up during his talks, these seven mistakes should be avoided at all costs:
Putting Them to Sleep
Lulling the audience to sleep can be avoided if the speaker injects enthusiasm into his voice while talking – this makes his audience feel eager to listen to him. His job is not only to inform the audience but to entertain them as well.
Failing to Meet Their Expectations
The audience is there because they want to hear what the keynote speaker has to say. They know he is an expert in his field, so they expect him to be successful in giving his talk. Also, it helps to keep in mind that making the right first impression is crucial, so that the worst thing he can do is to appear ineffective, negative, and passive.
Assaulting Them with Too Many Slides
PowerPoint slides are useful because they prevent the speaker from looking too passive, and they also help make his ideas clearer to the audience. But too much of a good thing can be a problem – instead of looking at the speaker and focusing on his talk, his audience will inevitably become distracted by his presentation slides. Worse, they will find him uninteresting in comparison, and that will cause the speaker to fade in the background. To a speaker, that is fate worse than death!
So presentations are good, but it’s best to keep them at a minimum, and the speaker should focus instead on making his talk substantial. Then again, the last thing a speaker wants is to make his audience suffer from too much information. They will get bored, and what makes it worse is that they may fail to even see how these messages could possibly be connected to one another. The whole point of delivering a talk in order to explain a particular topic becomes lost on them.
What the keynote speaker can do is follow this formula: introduce the topic and the problem involved, tell a story related to the topic, suggest a solution to the problem, and then end by encouraging the audience with call-to-action statements.
Not Regaling Them with Stories
Even though a speaker avoids giving talks that are filled with too much information, this does not mean he can get away with not telling a story or two. More than keeping his talk from sounding too tedious to the audience’s ears, sharing stories holds their interest and encourages them to engage in the discussion that is sure to follow. It helps the speaker tell stories that are drawn from his own experience or his knowledge on other people’s experiences.
Drawing the Attention Away from Them
The keynote speaker should avoid talking too much about himself, his accomplishments, or the company he is connected with. The purpose of giving his audience a speech is to help them solve a problem (usually associated with their line of work). Providing the audience examples about the speaker’s company helps enrich the discussion, but the speaker should only share information that is relevant.
Not Believing that Practice Makes Perfect
As mentioned earlier, the audience holds high expectations that the speaker will deliver a great speech, if not a perfect one. It truly helps if the speaker practices everything before the day of his talk: his prepared speech, so he sounds confident and convincing onstage; his walk, which should be minimal but varied enough to keep things interesting; and his voice, which should have just the right speed, volume, and pitch, as well as a touch of humor.
Avoiding these mistakes is not difficult for a keynote speaker to accomplish. All he needs is lots of preparation as well as the passion to inform and entertain.