Professional Keynote Speaker Paul Hughes reflects on the Impact & Relevance of Speech Topics in Corporate Events.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the topic of a speech is not the most important thing. Yet it remains one of the more common ways of choosing a Keynote Speaker.
What is far more important than the speech topic are the qualities of the Speaker. The topic of a speech is far less important than how a Speaker engages with the audience, adapts to the context, and how they make the audience feel. (For more on this see our article: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake when Choosing a Keynote Speaker.)
The purpose of this article is to share the experiences of a Professional Keynote Speaker so you can make a more informed decision when hiring one for your corporate event.
The Medium & the Message.
In 1964* the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan published a groundbreaking book called Understanding Media. It became a classic in the study of media theory.
Within the book, he introduced the expression ‘the medium is the message’. Where he believed that the medium (the channel) is more important than the message (the content).
* Reading has become a regular habit in my personal and professional life. One of the techniques I apply to read is to look for books that are 50 years old or older. Because when I read a book that is this old, and I find it relevant, it means that there is a timeless quality to its content. This search for timeless content, that I then apply in a timely context, is a key driver in my work.
The Speech & the Subject.
It is interesting to apply McLuhan’s insight into the concept of a speech and the subject of the speech. A Keynote Speech then would be the medium, and the subject would be the message.
This means that McLuhan would argue that the speech (the medium) is more important than the subject (the message), confirming my belief that what we say is less important than how we say it.
What a Professional Keynote Speakers says is less important than how they say it.
The Medium & the Massage.
Three years after Understanding Media, McLuhan published The Medium Is the Massage. He changed the word ‘message’ into ‘massage’ to emphasise the effect a medium has on our senses; each medium produces a different ‘massage’ or ‘effect’ on our senses.
This offers an interesting insight into what really is the difference between an average Keynote Speaker and a Professional Keynote Speaker. In this regard, McLuhan would argue that a Professional Keynote Speaker has the ability to use a Keynote Speech (the medium) to massage the audiences’ senses.
A Professional Keynote Speaker massages the audiences’ senses.
There is much to be said about this concept of massaging the audiences’ senses. However, it must be stressed that it is rare that negative emotions would be used. Instead, a Professional Keynote Speaker will work with long- term emotions that sustain activity and creates a strong organisational culture. See our article: Never Hire a Keynote Speaker who Motivates by Fear.
Remember, the next time you are deciding on hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker for your corporate event, that the subject of a speech is far less important than how the Speaker can use the medium of the speech.
To learn more about how Paul Hughes’ Keynote Speeches can impact your organisational growth Request a Quote now.