Be at ease.
The speech is not unlike writing a book. The beginning sets up the topic. The middle covers key points and breaks those points into sub-points. The ending summarizes and reinforces these key points. Sound familiar? Easy peasy, right?
Well, maybe there’s a little more to it.
For one thing, a keynote address is an “inspirational” speech. You need to inspire your audience to participate in conference meetings and workshops and to pursue their writing dreams. The speech sets the mood for the conference. Match your delivery style to the tenor of the event—is it celebratory, serious or in-between? Generate enthusiasm.
Know your audience. What will they be expecting to take away from the conference? You achieve an inspirational effect by supporting collective beliefs, values and sentiments.
Where to start? Let’s tackle that by looking at what goes into the beginning, middle and end.
The opening of your speech should leave no doubt as to what you’re going to say. Just like with any book, the first words must hook the audience. They should inspire your audience to want to listen to you.
Use this time to establish your credentials. Also, identify a common bond between you, your topic and your audience. This will establish rapport and good feeling.
Use the rest of your brief beginning to introduce the main points which will carry your middle. Show the conference topics for having timeliness and relevance to their lives. Use only material that relates to the rest of your speech in some way; e.g., don’t use jokes, anecdotes or illustrations that have nothing to do with the points you want to get across. They should directly relate to the points and sub-points you want your listeners to retain.
Just like with a book, you must frame your keynote speech to your listeners’ interests—not yours. Use vivid word images to build a scenario your audience can see in their own minds.
People are interested in knowing about you. Anecdotes are very effective way to reveal who you are as a person and give your audience a chance to get closer to you. That reminds me, follow any abstract concepts with concrete examples, like quotations, personal experiences or statistics. These make abstract ideas more tangible.
To provide your audience with a logical approach to understanding your message, structure your content with a “pattern.” You could compare the past and present with some conjecture about the future. You could contrast before-and-after situations, introduce alternative viewpoints, or introduce a problem and offer a solution.
Just like in books, your audience needs a clear understanding of where you are going—i.e., transitions that move them from one point to the next and tie it all together. Confusion, doubt and uncertainty have no place in a keynote address. Use pauses to create suspense and orient your listeners to transitions in your subject points.
And here’s a friendly reminder. The middle is where you really need vocal variety to keep your listeners focused and attentive. Bring music into your voice. No monotone.
Hey, you’re on the home stretch—the last one-quarter of your speech. Time to summarize and to inspire.
Remember, the goal of your keynote address is to “mobilize” your listeners. You want them ready to participate in and to support the aims of the conference. Like with the ending of your book, summarize your key points and sub-points. Emphasize those points you want your listeners to take with them throughout the conference. Make them feel good about being at this particular conference.
End with a Call to Action. Inspire them to get the most out of the workshops and encourage them to strive to reach their goals as writers.
There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? It’s as easy as writing a book!
Opening herself to ridicule by revealing she’s clairvoyant is the last thing U.S. WAVES Lieutenant Livvy Delacourt wants, but when Uncle Sam needs her skill to track Nazi spies, she jumps in with both feet.
Expect Trouble released as an audiobook in September 2017 from Audible, Hoopla, Overdrive, and other audiobook distributors and clubs.
It was Runner-up, 2016 Shelf Unbound Award, and Semifinalist, East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Award.
JoAnn Smith Ainsworth experienced WWII food rationing, Victory Gardens, and blackout sirens as a child. She lived in Philadelphia during the ’50s and she attended the Berkeley Psychic Institute in the late ’70s. These experiences bring authenticity to her historical paranormal suspense series.
She is the author of six published novels. She earned a B.A. from UC-Berkeley, an M.A.T. from Fairleigh Dickenson University, and M.B.A. studies from Pepperdine University. Ainsworth lives in northern California.
To learn more about this award-winning author, visit www.joannsmithainsworth.com.
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