6 elements of a powerful tech keynote 

Leanne Worthington

Your event’s keynote will set the tone for the whole day or week. It’s an opportunity to excite, educate, and engage. To reaffirm the reasons your attendees have travelled far and wide and now sit before you, eyes forward, attention focused and ears waiting eagerly to hear something that makes their journey worthwhile. No pressure, right?

We plan and manage all different kinds of events, and often that includes helping our customers put together segments and keynote speaker scripts to ensure narratives remain strong and captivating. Here are our top tips for when you’re going it alone…

#1 Short words, rhythmic sentences

When you have such a valuable audience in front of you, it can be tempting to rattle off every sales pitch you’ve got in your back pocket. This can leave sentences sounding lengthy, complex and less engaging as time goes on. Once you’ve written each segment, it’s important to revisit the script and go through the following processes:

  • Replace words that are unnecessarily complex
  • Remove words that aren’t adding anything to the story
  • Run your segment by someone in your department and someone outside of it (different perceptions can be invaluable)
  • Split long paragraphs and sentences; read your segment aloud and where sentences feel like a struggle, insert natural breaks into the content

#2 A powerful, visual opener

The inclusion of a fast-paced video, accompanied with tone-setting music, immediately brings a wave of energy and focus to a restless crowd. If you didn’t budget for a video, ensure you have holding screens in between segments to provide an interesting backdrop and visual cues for topic changes.

#3 Technical input, creative output

Ensure your technical team contributes their key points before you get started and get final sight of scripts. That said, you should set boundaries on where their input begins and ends. Keep feedback rounds minimal and set clearly defined deadlines.

#4 Engaging storytelling

Try to be objective and put yourself in the chair of one of your attendees. Be ruthless with your editing and anything that comes across as disinteresting, or repetitive – remove. Think about your key points and how you transition from one to the next.

#5 Manage expectations

Event agendas are always subject to change, and while you’ve likely done your best to communicate these, last-minute switches are inevitable. Ensure your segment has wiggle room for a top-line topic run-through. Your guests should be informed about what’s coming up.

#6 Succinct run time and capped segments

Unless you’re delivering your segment juggling fire rods, keeping your audience’s attention is a difficult art form to master. Make your run time realistic and keynote succinct, especially if you don’t have much in the way of visual support.

Make your next keynote one to remember

Your next keynote will set the tone for your event and potentially your industry moving forward. The impression you leave will long ripple through the minds of your audience beyond the day itself – if you make it memorable, that is.


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