Expert View: A Keynote Speech is the Right Balance Between Entertainment & Information.
The Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan said, “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either.” And after many years of experience giving Keynote Speeches, I fully agree with him.
The goal of this article is to offer an expert view on how a Professional Keynote Speech is the right balance between entertainment and information. So you can make better decisions when hiring a Keynote Speaker for your next internal management event.
The Right Balance.
McLuhan states that there is no distinction between education and entertainment. In other words, great education is entertaining, and vice versa.
Yet all too often, Speakers do not know how to balance entertainment & information (education) in their speech.
A Professional Keynote Speech always finds the right balance between information & entertainment.
Indeed, there are Speakers who pride themselves that their speech is only informational. As if adding some element of entertainment would dilute the integrity of their content. And on the other side of the spectrum are Speakers who specialise only in entertainment. Their speech is designed so people can ‘switch off’, which is bazaar considering the goal of all events is engagement.
However, in my expert view, a Professional Keynote Speech always finds the right balance between education and entertainment*. For more information on this see our article: The Structure of a Keynote Speech: A Quick Overview.
* The word ‘entertainment’ in this article is used with the definition of ‘providing enjoyment’, and ‘giving attention to something’. Rather than a definition of ‘entertainment’ that is ‘cheap’, ‘trivial’, or ‘frivolous’.
How you say it: Entertainment.
Every Keynote Speech is a performance. Every Professional Keynote Speaker intuitively knows this. They use humour, storytelling, the sound of their voice, and other presentation techniques, to engage the audience in their information.
Every Keynote Speech is a Performance.
The goal of a Professional Keynote Speech is to get people to take action. So a great speech does not end in words, it ends in actions. How then does a great Keynote Speech encourage people to take action?
It comes down to a simple principle: It is not about what you say, it is about how you make people feel.
This means that it is the feeling the audience has at the end of the speech that defines the impact of the speech. If the audience feels encouraged, unified, with a sense of direction, they are ready to take action. However, if they feel discouraged, disunited, or confused they will not take action.
The entertaining aspect of a speech is focused on how you make people feel.
What you say: Information.
Every Keynote Speech is a pitch. This means that a Professional Keynote Speaker needs to make the complex clear. The use of logic, concise examples, and anecdotes, to bring across their information in an engaging way.
Every Keynote Speech is a Pitch.
A Professional Keynote Speaker weaves together this information aspect with the entertaining aspect. These two aspects enrich each other to create an impactful Keynote Speech.
A Professional Keynote Speech is a pleasure to experience as it delivers compelling information.
The Balance: Infotainment.
The common mistake, however, is that too many speeches focus just on the information aspect of the speech. However, the topic of a speech is less important than how a Speaker makes the audience feel. (For more on this see our article: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake when Choosing a Keynote Speaker.)
It is clear then that we need both. It is a balance.
This balance, of entertainment and information, has sometimes been called ‘Infotainment’: Information that is presented in an entertaining way.
So a Professional Keynote Speech presents Information in an entertaining way. Great education is entertainment. And great entertainment is education.
A Professional Keynote Speech presents information in an entertaining way.
The next time you are planning an internal management event, consider how a Keynote Speaker can help your event create more impact by finding the right balance between entertainment and information.
If you want a full description of its benefits before you download this Checklist, check out the Guide to finding the right Keynote Speaker for your corporate event page and you will see all the reasons why.