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.

Professional Speaking: Delivery Trumps Content

Professional Speaking: Content Trumps


I’ve been a professional speaker for many years now, and I’ve also seen thousands of speakers – both amazing ones and not so amazing ones. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing speaker feedback – both my own and that of other speakers, and there are a few surprising things I’ve learned along the way.

First, I’m not saying content DOESN’T MATTER, but it doesn’t matter MOST. Too many speakers spend all of their time on content and no time on delivery. There is a huge disconnect between what makes a great speaker and where speakers spend their time.

1) Delivery Matters Most

The speakers who seem to get the best reviews are the best entertainers. I’ve seen speakers who are highly entertaining get rave reviews, even though they didn’t really have a lot of helpful or actionable content. At the same time, some of the smartest people I know don’t get rated well as speakers because they don’t have great delivery.

If you are a speaker (or want to be one) focus on your delivery. Build in energy and entertainment if you want to get rave reviews.

2) Audience Participation

I sometimes struggle with getting the audience involved… it can be hard because as a speaker we want to focus on our message. Getting the audience to engage and participate gets them much more engaged with the presentation than just talking.

Plan your presentation to get your audience involved – whether it is in big ways or small ways – and you’ll notice an improvement in your feedback scores.

3) It Isn’t About You

There are some speakers who are funny and have decent content, but they make their presentation too much about themselves, and not enough about the audience. Inside jokes or references to how smart you are don’t win people over. Instead, be relatable and try some deprecating humor. Build bridges based on commonality and your audience will relate to you better.

Always focus on them.

5 Tips Keep Your Audience Hanging on Your Every Word

presentation tips to keep your audience involvedI speak 50+ times a year, sometimes for as long as 14 hours a day, 2 days in a row. When you spend a lot of time in-front of people, it is extremely important to keep their attention and keep them excited and engaged in your presentation. Whether you are a keynote speakers, doing a panel/breakout or presenting an idea to your boss, nothing is more frustrating than when the audience starts to fade and you feel the attention waning.

While there are many tools that you can use to drive engagement and interactions, there are also things that you can incorporate into your speaking style to keep people excited and interested.

Here are 5 ways to keep people interested:

1) Move around.

Don’t stay in one place – move around. If you notice the audience is starting to fade, walk through the audience. I always request a lavalier mic (or a hand held) so that I can easily move around the room. Just the movement creates variety.

2) Make eye-contact

I try to look around the audience and make eye contact with as many people as possible. When people feel like you are speaking directly to them they tend to pay more attention.

3) Add vocal and energy variety

One-level gets boring. I tend to be high energy, but it is actually LESS effective to constantly be high energy vs. varying your energy. I speak quickly and excitedly to make a point and other times lower my voice to make people really lean in and pay attention.

4) S-L-O-W D-O-W-N

Many speakers who really know they stuff talk to fast! It is hard to keep up with them. Slow. It. Down. This adds variety and makes people more interested in your key points. Use silence and slow down for emphasis.

5) Change it up – live demo, writing on a white board, using power point

Especially in my longer classes this is really important – keep people engaged by changing the medium you use to deliver content – don’t stick to slides. Go online and show them a live demo. Draw on a whiteboard or chart to visualize a point. Keep the medium fun and exciting. Also, when you do things on the fly it shows that you really know your stuff well enough to deviate from a script.


Speakers: Don't Share Information, Share Stories

Speakers: Tell a story, don't just give informationI’ve been speaking to organizations for 5+ years now.

Some people think that professional speakers are just people who are naturally talented at speaking and have some sort of a message to share.

This may be true for people sharing stories at local events or participating in panels at conferences.

Professional speaking requires more.

People don’t remember data, they remember stories.

Importantly, turning every aspect of your presentation into a story increases how people respond and how much they remember. Stories connect with people on an emotional level. Once you have the guts of your presentation worked out, consider how you can turn it from information into a story.

For example, I can tell you that older people are now using social media. I could even give you statistics.

Instead, I tell a story (along with a hysterical picture) of how my father joined Facebook even though he still has dial up internet.

People remember the story and are entertained. PLUS they remember the message. Much better than they’d remember a statistic or a chart.

Turn Everything Into a Story

My goal is to turn every aspect of my presentation into a story.

For example, when I introduce myself I don’t just randomly share information about my background, or rhyme off my qualifications.

I tell a story. The story starts with me working at P&G…. I share my journey of how I got to where I am.

People connect with the story.

It resonates with them.

They remember it.

They feel more connected to me and my message.

It is WAY more interesting vs. just talking about myself.

Every Story Should Have A Purpose

The key is to be sure that each story that you share has a purpose. It should build upon your overall message and connect with the audience. It should help them understand WHY your message is important and HOW to implement it.

Storify your message. (Make your message a story).


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