Keynote Speaker: How to succeed on the big stage

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Keynote Speaker: How to succeed on the big stage

More and more people are dreaming of a career as a keynote speaker. But what is the reason for this?

Are aspiring keynote speakers driven by money? Do they crave fame, recognition and thunderous applause from enthusiastic crowds? Sure, these factors also play a role.

In most cases, however, there is a desire to make the world a better place through content, products or services. If you find yourself in this definition, then you should read this post carefully now.

Because below we've created a guide with lots of useful tips to help you get started as a keynote speaker. You can use the guide to refine your rhetorical skills and noticeably improve your keynote presentation.

The 5 most common reasons why people become keynote speakers

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the same difference as between lightning and a firefly.

Mark Twain

#1 Getting a message out to the world

Want to make the world a better place as a keynote speaker? Then the stage is the perfect place to make your voice heard. It's where you can communicate your thoughts clearly and get them out into the world.

Because sometimes all it takes is one speech to change the world. Martin Luther King's speech "I have a dream" is the best example of this. It was heard by millions of people at the same time and led to all of America standing up against racism.

How can you change the world?

#2 Become more successful professionally

As a keynote speaker you can make your company better known. The stage is also a perfect platform for individual entrepreneurs such as trainers, coaches and consultants to draw attention to themselves.

Big companies like Apple, Tesla or Nike have done it before. In perfectly rehearsed keynotes, products are marketed, hype is created and awareness is rapidly raised to the next level.

#3 Improve rhetoric

Rhetoric is becoming increasingly important in many professions. Whether in company presentations, in meetings or in customer discussions. Wherever people meet, rhetoric is the key to success.

This means that if you have mastered the stage as a keynote speaker, you will master any other situation where communication is crucial.

#4 Improve comfort zone

Do you often feel insecure in conversations? Do you have the right answer on the tip of your tongue, but you don't dare to speak up? Do you want to be able to express your opinion successfully in any situation?

Then the stage is the perfect place for you to get out of your comfort zone. Because as a keynote speaker you will learn sovereignty, linguistic finesse and the ability to convince people of your ideas.

#5 Helping other people

Does it make you sad that many people often do not unfold their full potential? Have you also not been able to develop your full potential for a long time? Is this the reason why you want to become the designer of your life?

Then the stage is the right place for you. As a keynote speaker, you have the opportunity to motivate, inspire and help people finally reach their full potential.

By the way, you can also find out what makes a good keynote speaker in this exciting interview between Dr. Stefan Frädrich and René Borbonus:

YouTube video

Becoming a Keynote Speaker: How to build a keynote

Rhetoric is the ability to turn words into shackles.

David Tatuljan

Rhetoric is a craft. That means it can be learned! For you, too. All you need are the right methods. The rest is practice.

Even well-known keynote speakers like Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Tony Robbins put a lot of work into their rhetorical skills. Or to put it in a nutshell: No master ever fell from the sky.

How exactly a keynote must be structured, we would like to tell you in a few moments. All in all, every good speech consists of five parts that need to be considered. These were already defined in ancient times and are still valid today.

#1 Inventio (The Preparation)

Before you hit the ground running as a keynote speaker, it's all about answering some important questions and preparing yourself properly. Among them:

  1. What is the occasion of your keynote? Example: Company presentation, customer presentation, festive speech.
  2. Who is the target audience of your keynote? Example: Employees, decision makers, voters, customers.
  3. What is the core message of your keynote? Example: Sugar leads to diabetes, rhetoric can be learned, digitalization is important.
  4. What do you want the impact of your keynote to be? Example: convince, motivate, inform, instruct.
  5. What is the goal of your keynote? Example: Entertaining audiences, attracting customers, imparting knowledge.

#2 Dispositio (The outline)

Being a keynote speaker is also about structuring your content properly. Here you need to answer the following questions:

  1. How do I start my keynote? Example: Personal Experience, Customer Experience, Historical Example.
  2. Which arguments are important? Example: Data, personal reference values.
  3. How do I engage the audience? Example: Question and answer session, exercises, challenge.
  4. Do I have any proof of what I'm saying? Example: Case studies, personal experience, testimonials.
  5. What is the appeal to the audience? Example: instructing, expanding consciousness, becoming active.

#3 Elocutio (The Refinement)

The third step is to refine the speech stylistically and linguistically. Here it is necessary to answer the following questions:

  1. Who is my audience? Example: Work colleagues, potential clients, scientists.
  2. Which presentation media do I use? Example: Flipchart, powerpoint, one-player.
  3. How do I speak to the audience? Example: simple sentences, foreign words, "duzen", "siezen".

#4 Memoria (The Memorization)

Your speech is now written. But how can it be easily stored in the head? How does a good keynote speaker manage to remember his keynote?

After all, you don't want to be unsure of yourself on stage when it counts. Therefore, here are a few useful tips that you can use to remember your speech well:

  • Make a cue sheet
  • Use a memo technique
  • Use a PowerPoint presentation
  • Learn only key points by heart

#5 Actio (The implementation)

Now it's time to get down to business! But before it finally starts, you have to give your Keynote presentation put the finishing touches. After all, it is also important to consider the non-verbal part of a speech. Here are a few aspects you can pay attention to.

  • Mimic
  • Gestures
  • Voice
  • Speech speed

Are you also looking for more tips for keynote speakers? Here we have prepared for you 25 tips that will help you prepare a speech.

Why it pays to become a keynote speaker

Good speeches are always remembered. You never forget a bad speech.

Bernhard Weatherill

Keynote speakers are in high demand in the market. But that's not the only reason why you should get started as a keynote speaker. There are several advantages to your career as a Keynote Speaker for your Business. We would like to briefly list the five most important advantages at this point.

The 5 biggest advantages as a keynote speaker for your business

Advantage 1: You positioning yourself as an expert

Without a top positioning you don't have a unique selling proposition. This means that you will be lost in the market. However, if you position yourself sharply as a keynote speaker in your industry, you are guaranteed to gain the attention of your target group.

With a unique selling proposition, you stand out from your competitors, which means that you will be better perceived by your target group. Therefore, as a keynote speaker, make sure you clearly define your positioning.

Advantage 2: You stand out from the competition

By positioning yourself at the top, you stand out from the competition. You establish yourself as a leading expert in your industry and thus gain a competitive advantage. This means: You automatically gain new customers through your reputation.

Here again Apple is a good example: Through Steve Jobs' perfect staging, products such as the iPhone, the Mac or the iPad have burned themselves into people's heads. You too can succeed as a keynote speaker.

Advantage 3: You increase your reach

Imagine giving a keynote and then uploading it to YouTube. What do you think the result would be? That's right! More and more people would become aware of you and your content.

To that end, sometimes a single keynote is all it takes to take off. Imagine if Steve Jobs had never given a keynote about the iPhone. Do you think Apple would have been one of the most successful companies in the world for years?

Advantage 4: You automatically gain new customers

The reach you generate as a keynote speaker automatically leads to more new customers. Because as soon as your speeches have found their way onto the internet, customers come automatically.

That in turn is a huge lever for your business. And who knows - maybe your path will lead you to the stage of Greator one day. In any case, we would be very happy about that!

Advantage 5: You increase your popularity at work

Being a good keynote speaker will also get you ahead in your company. Because if you are good with words, then you are also able to motivate your employees.

This way, your colleagues pull together, which also increases productivity immensely. In another article, we will show you in which industries it is particularly worthwhile to have the skills of a keynote speaker.


Bottom line: as a keynote speaker, you can get your message out to the world and advance your career at the same time.

If once I had to give away all my possessions and was allowed to keep only one possession, I would choose the power of speech. For with its help I would soon have regained all the others.

Daniel Webster

In this article, you learned what a keynote speaker is, how to set up a keynote, and why it pays to become a keynote speaker.

You probably want to take the next step now and prepare your first keynote to take off as a keynote speaker.

To help you do that, we've created the Keynote Development Workbook. It's a step-by-step guide you can use to create the perfect Keynote.

You can download the workbook now for free. It will be with you within a few seconds and then you can immediately go into the implementation. We wish you a lot of fun with the workbook and success with your first keynote.

Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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