What is a successful keynote speaker?

It is quite often the case many of us believe keynote speaking is a luxurious and prestigious profession.

It is obvious as an entertainer or keynote speaker you can generate a lot of income and become very much sought after. However, most successful speakers or entertainers spend lots of time in airports around the world or hotels in different cities.

In order to have a career in speaking or to become a motivational speaker, you need to first be or at least be perceived as being an expert in some subject.

What we most commonly see as a successful keynote speaker is someone who has achieved a very high standing in their profession or sport. It is not however the only way to become a successful motivational speaker.

The art of speaking or indeed being a trainer is centred around your skill to retain the focus of your audience. It is what most speakers refer to as the energy to get your audience to lean in.

Perhaps the revolution in the speaking industry has been the evolution of TED talks. While a good many keynote speakers and entertainers focus on delivering content over a 45 minute to one hour period, TED forces you to deliver an impactful message inside of 18 minutes.

The lesson for any speaker relates to the skills for the audience to focus over a greater duration.

It ought to be noted that while each TED talk is of a shorter duration, the crowd is able to maintain focus over several sessions in the same evening.

The lesson therefore to anybody desiring to be a trainer or speaker essentially must learn to keep your audience engaged over larger spans of time using various tools like humour, audience participation or emotion. Essentially you’ll want to learn to be several different personalities in the same talk.

Many organizations including toastmasters focus on training people to become speakers, however in most examples the training is somewhat old school. While it is valuable to learn the tools of the trade, like with many professions, times have changed and we have never necessarily responded to the change. 

A leading example is in the writing industry. Where books had been a minimum of 80,000 words, the evolution of the eBook industry has led to a demand for 8000 word ebooks. 

The same holds true in speaking where today we worry less about the “umm’s, err’s or “like’s” in a sentence and much more concerning the ability for the speaker to entertain us and hold us captive to their narrative. 

Canada is one country that delivers many top quality entertainers and speakers. To become a Canadian speaker you have access to not only the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (which has membership requirements in regards to your experience) but additionally several high-quality speaker agencies.

Even though the need to become a speaker may focus you on a path of writing a keynote and planning for for the big day, its also wise to be prepared to be multi-talented.

Most motivational speakers derive a significant portion of their income from selling books at their events. Additionally deliver workshops for the same audience so as to add value to their service.

In this circumstance the skills to create a book or host a workshop need to be acquired or purchased to assist you to in your career progression.

If you are considering a career in speaking in North America, I would strongly suggest you look to either the National Speakers Association in the USA or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Canada. 

Once you have opened enough doors to start to get bookings, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that can be very profitable also.