All eyes on you: How to give a captivating keynote speech

Reading time 8 minutes
All eyes on you: How to give a captivating keynote speech

"How do I manage to arouse the audience's interest and captivate them?" Do you ask yourself this question all the time? Then it's high time you learned something about impulse lectures!

With them, you succeed in drawing the full attention of your audience to yourself and opening the doors for profound discourse. But what exactly makes the impulse speech so special? What distinguishes it from a normal speech or a lecture? We'll show you here!

What is an impulse lecture?

With an impulse speech you manage to establish a direct connection between you and your audience. You actively involve them and this is what distinguishes it from an ordinary lecture. The interaction between you is the main feature of this form of lecture.

You inspire your audience on an emotional level, no matter what topic you talk about. This enables you to create a strong impulse that will leave a lasting impression on your listeners. Your speech stands for Inspiration and energy in equal measure.

What are the types of impulse presentations?

Impulse lectures can be divided into three different types. There are the technical, the attitudinal and the motivational lectures. As a good speaker, you combine them all in your presentation and pick up every single listener. We'll explain how this works here.

The professional impulse speech

In a professional keynote speech, you convey important facts about a specific topic to your audience. Imagine you are an entrepreneur and want to take off internationally. So you invite your employees to an event where you present your strategy. You also invite experts who work in the field of Past have already successfully expanded and let them speak in front of your employees. They provide valuable, professionally oriented information in their presentation, i.e. they give a professionally oriented impulse speech.

The lectures shaped by attitude

Here, it's less about imparting expertise and more about creating a certain thought pattern in your listeners. You make it clear what your position is on a particular topic. Often, such impulse lectures are characterized by a provocative title and initiate a discussion.

It is also not uncommon for not just one impulse speech to be given during an event, but two or more. Different opinions are presented one after the other and trigger controversial discussions.

Motivational speeches

A motivational keynote speech should motivate - that goes without saying. But what is the best way to do that? Your speech should be inspiring and contain very clear and unmistakable messages. You ask your audience to implement the strategy you have just presented.

Impulse lecture and keynote: What's the difference?

It happens again and again that a keynote is also called an impulse lecture. But that is not quite right. "Keynote" translated means "key lecture". It sets impulses and provides intensive insights into certain topics. If it forms the beginning of an event, it paves the way for all the important information that follows.

If, on the other hand, it is only her turn at the end, she summarizes the essential statements once again. If all this happens in a very interactive way, it is an impulse speech. This means that a keynote can actually be an impulse speech, but that is not always the case.

impulse lecture example

The length and placement of a good impulse talk

A keynote speech usually takes ten to 30 minutes. This gives you enough time to get to the heart of your topic and convey all the facts that are important to you. At the same time, the presentation does not take too long, so that there is a risk that your audience might digress. Classically, the impulse speech opens an event, ends it or is given between certain topic blocks. The position before a discussion round is also widespread.

If your keynote speech takes place at the beginning of an event, it is your task to prepare the audience for the big topic. You open the gates of the event and at the same time the eyes of your audience. You inspire the audience and awaken their excitement for all that is to come. If your impulse speech is between two thematic blocks, you prepare the audience for the change of topics. Thanks to you, the break between the blocks does not happen abruptly, because you ensure a smooth transition.

Before a discussion, on the other hand, you get the audience in the right mood. If you, as the speaker, are also part of the subsequent discussion, this often makes it easier for the audience to join in the conversation. "True to this motto, your keynote speech marks the crowning conclusion of the event. In it, you summarize the topic of the day once again and call on those present to take certain actions. You convey a very clear message that sums up the quintessence of the event once again and anchors it in the minds of the audience.

3 things that make a good keynote speech

Ensuring interaction between speaker and audience - that sounds much easier than it actually is. Nothing is more uncomfortable than standing on stage, desperately waiting for reactions from the audience, and there's just no sound coming back. The whole presentation suddenly stops and an uncomfortable silence spreads through the room. To save you from this, we have put together a few points that will make your impulse speech a highlight.

1. encourage interaction

Not every person sitting in the audience is extroverted enough to simply participate in your presentation. It's not that uncommon for audience members to feel uncomfortable about suddenly becoming part of the event themselves, and nervousness sets in. They are insecure and afraid of revealing themselves as laymen or saying something that could trigger a discussion. If your audience consists almost exclusively of such people, it will be difficult to interact.

You lighten up the situation by making very casual Ask questionsthat everyone is guaranteed to be able to answer. Small participatory tasks are also suitable for breaking the ice and paving the way for lively discussions. In short, you activate and motivate the audience.

2. loose and easy to understand

Even if you're giving technical presentations, it can't hurt to work with invigorating elements. If your presentation is simply boring and dry, you will quickly lose the attention of the audience. So use lively language, make vivid comparisons that everyone can relate to, and make sure that your audience can easily follow the content. Surprising climaxes or twists create a wow effect and captivate the audience again and again.

3. become a moderator

As a speaker, you have the reins in your hands. So when there's a lively exchange, it's your job to act as moderator. You make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak and ensure that discussions don't get out of hand. At the same time, however, you are still the speaker and thus a participant in the discussion. So you jump back and forth between two roles.

What is the goal of an impulse talk?

Never-ending meetings are simply tiring and energy-sapping. So it's incredibly refreshing when there's finally an item on the agenda that loosens things up a bit. And that point is your impulse talk! The goal is to get the audience excited about the event (again) and to get them active. Your presentation should inspire the audience and set numerous targeted impulses.

4 steps to give a good impulse speech

As an impulse speaker, you attract everyone's attention. You won't succeed if you just stand still in one place. Dynamism is not only required in your words, but also in your body language. You are standing on a big stage, so use it! Address your audience actively, keep changing sides and show your audience that you see them all - even those sitting on the very edge.

1. the correct posture

Head up, shoulders back, but still relaxed: this is how you move on stage. This also makes you visually present without appearing stiff and tense. You can also work with visible gestures to emphasize what you are saying.

This may feel unusual at first. It's best to practice at home in front of the mirror beforehand. As simple as it sounds, it is effective! After all, you don't see yourself on stage and can't judge whether your gestures are too big or too timid. So get in front of the mirror!

2. enthusiasm at first sight

As is often the case in life, first impressions count when it comes to keynote speeches. That's why your first important step for a good impulse speech is to choose your keynote wisely. The way you open your speech determines how your audience will behave in what follows. Want to create a sizzling, controversial mood? Then start with a polarizing statement that directly triggers discussion.

You are more the humorous type? Then start with a laugh! But make sure you don't make fun of the topic and your audience won't take you seriously. How you start is entirely up to you. In theory, the only important thing is that it fits the content and arouses the interest of the audience. So think about it in detail beforehand, because you only have a few seconds to break the ice.

3. throw your notes aside

You've made the perfect start. Now it's time to captivate your audience for the long term. You won't succeed if your eyes are only glued to your notes. The days when speeches consisted of never-ending PowerPoint presentations are long gone. If you have prepared intensively, you don't need these tools at all.

You know what you're talking about, so show it. Put your notes aside and just talk. Keep your eyes on your audience! Then you'll be able to recognize when you're losing them and act accordingly.

Improvisational skills are required if you want to keep the attention on your side. And improvisation is certainly not on your notes. The impulse speech is not about reading off facts word for word, but about that, Engage and inspire people - don't forget that!

4. tell a story

You've now given your audience all the basic facts. Now it's time to go into more depth. The best way to do that is to wrap it up in a story.

Use everyday scenarios that everyone present has certainly experienced at some point. This makes it easier for your listeners to put themselves in the situation and understand what you're trying to say. They will then be able to understand complex issues much better.

The top topics of the keynote speeches

Impulse speeches can basically be about anything. There are no limits to your creativity, as long as you have something important to say. However, there are a few topics that are particularly popular in impulse speeches because they are great for getting people talking. These include:

  • Motivation
  • Ways to reduce stress
  • Resilience
  • Time Management
  • Digitization
  • social media

The stage is yours

Impulse speeches fascinate, captivate, move and inspire - at least if you manage to fill the entire stage with your presence and astonish the audience. Your appearance, your words and your personality determine whether or not you will be a great success.

With our Keynote Workbook you are well prepared for this. In it, we share ten valuable tips with you that will turn you into a confident professional on stage. You're just a few clicks away from thunderous applause!



Learn with professional speaker Frank Asmus captivate your audience from the very first second, cause goose bumps and earn thunderous applause!
Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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