Why most Keynote Speeches are not Keynote Speeches.
The term 'Keynote Speech’ is used loosely across the event industry. It is used interchangeably with the term general ‘speech’ and, when used specially, it is often used incorrectly. Knowing the true meaning of a Keynote Speech can help you understand why you need one for your corporate event.
The purpose of this article is to clarify what is a Keynote Speech so you can decide if you need to book one for your corporate event.
What is a Keynote Speech?
A Keynote Speech is a Speech at the beginning of an event that sets the tone (the keynote) for everything that follows.
This definition has three important elements:
1) it is at the beginning of the event,
2) it sets the tone of the event,
3) everything follows from it.
1) A Keynote Speech is at the beginning of the event.
The term ‘Keynote’ comes from the world of music and refers to the note that is played to determine the 'key' in which a song is performed. Therefore, to be effective a Keynote Speech must be programmed at the beginning of an event. See our article: What is a Keynote Speech?
This also means that there cannot be several ‘Keynotes’. There can be several Speeches during an event, but only one Keynote Speech. Likewise, a Speech at the end of an event cannot be called a ‘Keynote Speech’. It can be called a Summary Speech, a Reflection Speech, or a Closing Speech. But it can not be called a Keynote Speech.
So a Keynote Speech must be placed that the beginning of the event. This does not means however that it has to be the first speech. It is possible that the CEO, or someone else, can give an opening speech, after which the Keynote Speech follows.
2) A Keynote Speech sets the tone of the event.
A Keynote Speech is not an independent speech. It cannot be based upon the Speakers content alone. Instead, it is an integrated speech that is based upon the needs of the event, which then informs the Speakers content.
A Keynote Speech is an integrated speech.
It is important to understand this distinction. In order for a Keynote Speech to set the tone of the event, it is primarily driven by the needs of the event and only secondly driven by the Speakers content.
3) A Keynote Speech guides everything else in the event.
So to be a Keynote Speech it must be integrated, aligned, and conscious of the flow of the event. When it sets out the central theme, it needs to consider how this will help frame and focus everything that follows in the event.
A Keynote Speech is the most important speech in an event.
So back to our music origin: if the opening 'keynote' that is played to set the ‘key’ of a song is wrong, it is hard to perform the rest of the song correctly. This makes a Keynote Speech the most important speech in an event. For more see our article: What is the Real Purpose of a Keynote Speech?
A Keynote Speech is a Speech at the beginning of an event that sets the tone for everything that follows. Knowing this true meaning of a Keynote Speech can help you understand why you need one for your corporate event.
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.