Keynote Speaking: Entertainment is Just as Important as Education


I recently gave a social media keynote at a conference and had the opportunity to watch the other keynote speakers. Most of the other speakers were respected industry experts with great knowledge and sound advice.

The problem was that they spent all of their time on their presentation and no time on their delivery.

The slides were perfectly crafted with beautiful charts and they shared interesting, timely and relevant data.

But they were boring!

Looking around the room people had a difficult time paying attention.


The delivery missed the mark. They focused all their time on content and none on delivery. So how can you easily improve delivery? Even if you aren’t an experienced speaker, these 3 tips will help you succeed.

3 Tips to Deliver Your Presentation Like a Pro:

1) Make use of space

Move around the room, or at least move around the stage. This makes you seem comfortable and confident and keeps people paying attention. Plus, if you stand at a podium or near the computer you tend to constantly look at it and not make eye-contact with the audience.

Get out from behind the computer and move!!!

2) Build-In Engagement

People are more interested when they participate. Build participation in to your presentation upfront. Bring someone on stage, ask questions, have them vote…. There are plenty of opportunities to engage people.

Build this into your presentation to keep people paying attention.

3) Add variety into your speaking style

Speed up. S L O W D O W N. Get excited. Be creepily calm. Speak quickly. Emphasize and repeat slowly to make a point. Move a lot. Stand still.

Even great speakers become monotonous after a while because they use the same tone. Mix it up. Especially if you are speaking for over 20 minutes.

Practice parts that you’ll go slow and parts to go fast. Try using different tones of voice to grab attention.

Even if you are a great speaker the same voice gets hard to listen to for long time periods.

The bottom line is if you want to be a great speaker and keep people engaged, focus beyond your presentation and spend as much time (if not more) crafting your delivery.

Using Contests to Generate Social Media Mentions at Your Event

Run a social media contest at your eventMost event planners want to generate social media mentions at their event — to build awareness and drive attendance for the next year. The challenge is always HOW to get people talking.

I recently put on a social media marketing conference in Cincinnati Ohio, and we wanted to make the event more interactive by encouraging our audience to share their experience on Twitter. In addition to sharing a hashtag, we created a number of contests to remind people to keep tweeting and to bring visibility to the event.

As a result, we were actually a trending topic on Twitter for the day 😉

In addition to including the hashtag everywhere, we also ran a number of contests including:

  • Best tweet from each keynote (selected by the keynote speaker)
  • Most interesting Tweet of the day
  • Best instagram photo of the day
  • Best quote from a speaker for the day
  • Most retweeted Tweet of the day

The result was that we had a variety of prizes throughout the day which kept the enthusiasm level high. Our prizes were small – Boot Camp Digital prize packs or a free book.

This is a strategy that can be used by speakers or event planners. As a speaker, you can encourage people to tweet about your presentation which brings visibility to both you and the event.

7 Marketing Lessons from Kitchen Nightmares That Every Business Can Learn From

7 Marketing Lessons from Kitchen Nightmares that Every Business can Learn FromI recently started watching Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey. If you haven’t seen the show, chef Ramsey is brought in to help struggling restaurants… he finds the problems and re-launches the restaurants. As I’ve watched him reposition a number of restaurants, I realized that there are a number of lessons in marketing that can be applied to speakers, events or any marketing in general.

1. Good Enough Isn’t. Don’t Sacrifice Quality

If you start making compromises on quality before you know it you’ll be mediocre. Never sacrifice the quality of what you do. Good enough doesn’t cut it. Everything should be amazing. If you start to let quality slip it can be a slippery slope. Aim for perfection every time. I also heard this message at a women entrepreneurship conference a few months ago where Debbi Fields (founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies) talked about the importance of every single cookie being perfect. Always be Amazing.

2. Know Your Market and Industry

Many restaurant owners don’t strategically think about their competition and how they fit in. In one episode they found that when the restaurant opened there were only 4 other restaurants in the neighborhood and today there are over 20. In another episode a “fine dining” restaurant was serving complicated food that the working class neighborhood couldn’t afford and actually didn’t even like. Know your audience, the market and your industry. This is important for businesses and speakers too – who else does what you do? What is the competition?  What is there actually demand for?

3. Find a Niche

One of the most important things that Ramsey shows the owners is how to find a niche (after they explore the market and the industry). Many restaurants want to be all things to all people and have overly complex menues. The key to success is to simplify the menu with a niche. No business can do or be good at everything – choose a niche and own it.

4. Be Known for Something – Have a Specialty

One of the big things that Ramsey does it create a memorable specialty. For example one Italian restaurant becomes known for “the Best Meatballs” and another for their “made in house fresh mozzarella”. They key is to find a specialty – something that you are known for and people will remember and talk about. How do you build that into your business? What is your speciality? what are you known for?

5. Simple Always Wins

Many chefs try to create bizarre new dishes that are just strange. Many menues have tons of options that just confuse people. The key is to be simple. People don’t need 100 options – they need 10 good ones. Keep your message and your offering as simple as possible.

6. Presentation Matters

It isn’t just about how the food tastes, it is about how it is presented. A great product with bad presentation won’t cut it. Regardless of your business think about the presentation of every aspect of your business – your online presentation, your storefront, what you wear, your business cards. Presentation matters every step of the way.

7. Put Care and Passion into Everything You Do

Show some passion. Take care into what you do. If you don’t have passion you can’t motivate others. I saw a speaker once who was was poised, polished, knowledgable and had a good message. The problem was that he had no passion. He wasn’t fired up. Passionate cooks pay attention to the details and put care into the creation and presentation of everything.

Are You in the Business of Getting Likes on Facebook?

No.  You are in the business of what you actually do….  designing sneakers, selling soap or offering accounting services.  Whatever business your in, that is what you actually do.  Unless you are in the business of getting likes or fans on facebook it doesn’t really matter how many likes you have unless they are driving your business.

Who Cares How Many Fans, Followers, Likes or Friends You Have?

It really doesn’t matter.  If you are a business, you are on social media to support your business, not to be popular on the internet (unless that is in fact your goal, in which case you probably won’t make a lot of money).

In working with businesses it seems that sometimes we get caught up in the follower counts, and forget why we are there in the first place.  A business is using social media to grow and connect with customers.  If fans and followers are the most effective way to do this, then perhaps they count, but it is important not to lose sight of why you are there to begin with.

Reverse Your Thinking

The problem is that Facebook trains us to think that we need to focus on our page – what we post and who connects with us on it (or likes it).  That is the wrong thinking.  Stop thinking about your page, and evaluate Facebook as a TOOL and ask yourself – what is the best way to use it to achieve my marketing objectives?  It may be through you page, or through inspiring and encouraging behavior off your page.

Fact 1: Not Everyone Who Likes Your Product Wants to Like You On The Internet

Even if I love your product, I might not be interested in having a relationship with you on social media.

I love the Swiffer Sweep & Vac.  It is one of the most amazing products, and I recommend it to people all the time.  I don’t want to like them on Facebook, because I don’t really have an interest in hearing about the brand or cleaning tips or whatever they happen to post on their facebook page.

I may have no use for your updates and information (and personally I find the swiffer ones VERY annoying).  Who cares if I don’t want to like you on Facebook and apparently talk about how men can’t clean (that seems to be the theme on the Swiffer page)…. I still love your product.

Fact 2: Word of Mouth Off Your Page is Probably More Effective

Again, brands focus on getting every conversation about their brand on their Facebook page – who cares?  It is probably more effective if I tell my friends (who may not even know about your product) versus telling you on your page.  Plus, more people will see a comment that is posted as your own status update vs. a comment on a brand page.

It seems more likely that my friends, who know me and value my opinion would be interested in buying a Sweep and Vac after my recommendation when I post about it authentically as a status update.

Fact 3: Focusing on Your Page Really Only Reaches Your Current Customers

There are stats that will debate this, but when you really think about it, people don’t just scan around on Facebook looking for new things to like.  They usually like products that they like and use in real life.  So if all of your Facebook efforts are centered around your page, you are probably only reaching people who already know you and like you (which is why they have liked you on the internet after all).

Many brands want to acquire new customers through efforts on their page – this only works if what you do is so interesting that your customers or fans share it with their friends.  Otherwise it stays in the echo-chamber of your page.

Start With Your Marketing Goals/Objectives

Un-train yourself on Facebook, and start with the end in mind…. What do you actually want to get, and what is the best way to use the social network to get it.

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