Professional Keynote Speaker Paul Hughes reflects on ‘What really is a Keynote Speech?’
After a recent Keynote Speech, I was interviewed by a journalist. His opening question was: ‘What is a Keynote Speech?” and I said, “It is a Speech at the beginning of an event that sets the tone, the keynote, for everything that follows.” (See article: What is a Keynote Speech?)
‘Ok, that’s clear.’ He then inquired further, ‘So what’s your approach to a Keynote Speech?” I paused for a moment and said, ‘A Keynote Speech is a non-directive catalyst that enhances personal and professional performance.’
This content of this article is an adaptation of the transcript of an interview with Paul Hughes on the definition of a Keynote Speech. The purpose of this article is to offer a deeper insight into what a Keynote Speech is so you can decide who is best to hire for your internal leadership event.
A Professional Keynote Speech is Non-directive.
When I say that a Professional Keynote Speech is ‘non-directive’ I do not mean that has no direction. Instead, I mean is that it is lead by the client's direction, not the Speakers direction.
The concept of ‘non-direction’ was introduced by the psychologist Carl Rogers. Who’s person-centred approach works with the principle that people are their own best experts. This goes against the popular practice that has an emphasis on problem-focused advice: giving advice and solving problems for others. The non-direction approach can be applied across many fields, including leadership, business practices, &, I believe, Keynote Speeches.
A Professional Keynote Speech is non-directive, which means that it is lead by the client's direction.
A Keynote Speech does not direct the audience as a consultant might – a consultant gives problem-focused advice and acts as an expert within a specific field. A Keynote Speech instead acts in a non-directive way in order to help the audience access their own resources.
A Professional Keynote Speech is a Catalyst.
A Professional Keynote Speech is transformative. However, the Speech in itself is not the transformation. Speech is the catalyst for the transformation.
A Catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction. So as a catalyst, the Speech stimulates, sparks, and incites transformation. It does this by working with aspirations and operations; transformative principles and transactional practice. In this regard, a Professional Keynote Speech does not end in words, it ends in actions. For more see our article: What is the Real Purpose of a Keynote Speech?
A Professional Keynote Speech does not end in words, it ends in actions.
A Professional Keynote Speech Enhances Performance.
A Professional Keynote Speech builds on existing success to develop overall performance both personally and professionally. Building upon the foundation of ‘non-direction’, a Speech is not about ‘fixing someone’ but rather it is about enhancing existing or latent capabilities.
Enhancing performance means that a Professional Keynote Speech is constructive, positive, encouraging, and practical. It intensifies what is working to further improve quality, value, and excellence. A Professional Keynote Speaker can never operate with a negative mindset, only a positive one.
A Professional Keynote Speech is a performance that enhances performance.
As a non-directive catalyst, a Professional Keynote Speech makes sure the content of the Speech is lead by your needs, not the Speakers. So the next time you are organising an internal leadership event, consider hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker to enhance the personal and professional performance in your organisation.
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.