Never Be Boring: 5 Ways to Never Be Boring as a Keynote Speaker

Never Be Boring by Myra Golden
Never Be Boring, a photo by Myra Golden on Flickr

My clients pay me to deliver a message and they expect me to deliver that message in an engaging, energetic and entertaining way. I put a lot of energy into designing and rehearsing my keynotes and training sessions so that I’m not that boring speaker we all hate. Here are 5 ways I make sure I’m never boring on the keynote stage.

1. I get my audience laughing right off the bat. I don’t walk on the stage saying “Hello” or asking my audience how they are doing. I learned a long time ago that if I could get my audience laughing, I could quickly create rapport, establish my credibility and set the tone for my message. A relevant story with some humor or surprise is my favorite way to kick off a keynote.

2. I limit my PowerPoint slides. (Often, speakers rely too heavily on PowerPoint slides.) I think PowerPoint can be great, but not if it distracts the speaker from her audience. If you’re looking at your slides, fumbling with your remote or reading slides, you’re not focused on your audience. For a 60-minute keynote, I’ll typically have no more than 6 slides. And those 6 slides are usually full screen graphics that emphasize key points of my message. By not focusing on PowerPoint (technology), I am free to focus all of my attention on my audience.

3. I  limit my message to 3 key ideas. A keynote is a short, high impact message designed to inspire people to take action. You can’t give people 10 steps to your method or introduce a half dozen different concepts in a 60-minute message. I give my audience 3 powerful ideas that will help them achieve our goal. They get stories, examples and inspiration to fully master my 3 ideas.

4. Every 8 minutes I introduce some “spice.” I read some research several years ago that said adults will only give you their attention for 8 minutes at a time. After that, they begin to tune you out. So, every 8 minutes I add some spice to my message. That spice might be a powerful story, YouTube video, humor or an interactive opportunity.

5.  I give my audience 100% of my attention. Perhaps the best way I avoid being boring on stage is that I don’t allow anything to come between me and my audience. I don’t use notes so I never have to break eye contact with my audience to look at papers. I rehearse well so I know exactly how long my speech will take and that means I never have to look at my watch. I look at my audience, be that an audience of 50, 500 or 5000 people, squarely and my focus is 100% on the people in front of me.

The next time you have to give a presentation, consider my 5 tips for never being that boring speaker. When you do, you’ll easily rock the stage!

If your dream is to be a professional speaker, check out my “Booked-solid Professional Speaker” Workshop. It begins October 17, 2012.

Related: 
How I Build a Keynote Presentation

What a Myra Golden Training is Like

Ways I Engage My Audiences

How to Get Customer Service Reps to Express Empathy

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Put all of your eggs in one basket and watch that basket!

Photo credit: Myra Golden

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.

Andrew Carnegie

If there’s one thing that I’ve mastered in my professional life, it’s focus. I started my speaking and consulting business in 2001 and since that time, I have fiercely focused on managing and growing this business. Over the years many people have tried to lure me into multi-level marketing organizations. Clients have offered me jobs with amazing salaries. Colleagues have invited me into “partnership” opportunities. I’ve easily turned down every offer. Speaking is what I do. Period. I don’t get sidetracked by doubt, negative thinking, other ventures, a recessed economy or a job. I have put all of my energy, thoughts, and capital into the basket of my professional speaking and the fruits have been sweet and endless.

Living your dreams requires putting everything into your dream basket. Whether that dream is writing a book, starting a business, singing, or anything, you have to give it all of your energy, positive thoughts and focus. That is the surest way to obtain your dream. Put all of your eggs in your dream basket and watch that basket.

If your dream is to be a professional speaker, check out my “Booked-solid Professional Speaker” Workshop. It begins October 17, 2012.