Keynote Speakers - world class keynote speakers

Written by

Dr Patrick Dixon: Future Strategy, Keynote Speaker - Futurist Keynote Speaker - Lectures and Slides

Rate This Article

Conference keynote for 4,500 corporate event organisers - how to create world-class events. Secrets of all great conference keynote speakers.

World-class conference keynote speakers are very rare. Awful keynote speakers are unfortunately very common and dreaded by conference participants everywhere. You can usually tell if a keynote speaker is going to shine in less than a couple of minutes. What makes a good keynote speaker?

With a great keynote speaker there's an immediate total emotional and mental connection, a stage presence, an energy which captivates, the whole auditorium lights up. Being a keynote speaker is not a logical or rational thing only. You can watch videos of keynote speakers and try to analyze style or content but there's something else going on. In fact videos are a very poor tool to capture the experience of being part of a live audience that is being "worked" by a pro. It's almost mystical - connection of one person with hundreds or thousands is primary characteristic of world-class keynote speakers.

People relate to people, and at the end of the day that's what really counts.

Need a world-class keynote speaker? Phone Patrick Dixon now or email.  Read FREE SAMPLE of The Truth about Almost Everything - his latest book.

Great Keynote Speakers - what are they like?

  • Keynote speakers grab attention.
  • Keynote speakers have provocative ideas which last.
  • Keynote speakers give people hope and boost morale.
  • Keynote speakers change the lives of those they meet.
  • Keynote speakers communicate the most complex ideas in a single phrase.
  • Keynote speakers take the wider view - setting the tone and perspective for everything that follows.
  • Keynote speakers entertain as well as inform.
  • Keynote speakers create a buzz, and boost conference morale.
  • Keynote speakers are intensely interested in other people.
  • Keynote speakers are warm and confident in what they are saying without being arrogant.
  • Keynote speakers are flexible: your event's success is more important to them than their great ideas.
  • Keynote speakers work closely with organizers to make the message fit well.
  • Keynote speakers are good team workers.
  • Keynote speakers pay the closest attention to detail to get it right.

So how can you tell in advance who is going to be a great keynote speaker and who is going to be a total disaster?

Important tests for potential Keynote Speakers

  • Audition them on the phone
  • Do they listen?
  • Do you like them?
  • Do they really get what you are trying to do?
  • Do their ideas really fit your keynote theme?
  • Are they persuasive, getting your attention?
  • Can they communicate powerfully in a direct and simple way?
  • Do you think you can work with this person?
  • Have you talked to others they have worked with?
  • Has anyone actually heard them give a keynote speech at an event?
  • Have you at least seen a keynote video?
  • Have you looked at the slides from a sample keynote presentation?
  • Do they give keynote speeches at a lot of events like yours?
  • Do they speak well of other contributors or slag other people off?
  • Are they rigid or accommodating?
  • Do they have a sense of humour?
  • Do they have an agent representing them, with a strong reputation, as a further badge of quality and guarantee of past success?
  • Have you searched the web using the speaker's name to see what others are saying about them? Remember your conference delegates may well do the same.
  • Do they have a high profile on the web?
  • Have you searched press files to see how often they are quoted?

Common mistakes people make about Keynote Speakers

Just because someone is a Professor or the author of a book does not necessarily mean they are great in front of an audience. Many of the world's best and most original thinkers are hopeless in front of a sizeable audience. And successful Chairmen or CEOs of companies can be an even greater risk as keynote speakers: they got to be where they are for many reasons, but rarely because they are primarily great conference communicators. And even if they are, you may find you are getting little more than a long commercial, albeit for free. Celebrities from film, TV or sport can be wonderful entertainers, especially at a lunch-time or dinner session, but you may be disappointed if you expect great numbers of sharply relevant insights into business success. Politicians are professional speech-givers, but you can land up with a party-political broadcast unless they are recently retired.

Keynote conference speaking has become a specialty area in it's own right in recent years, almost an art form , with a select group of practitioners dominating the world stage at corporate events. It is a now a distinct profession, with various entry paths, many of them eclectic.

And the qualification? There is of course only one: the ability to delight an audience.

Dr Patrick Dixon is often described as Europe's leading Futurist, and is a renowned keynote speaker addressing audiences of up to 4,000 people a time in up to three countries a week. He works extensively with Fortune 500 companies at the most senior levels and has been ranked amongst the 20 most influential business thinkers worldwide.

More than 6 million video views by some of the 15.5 million different visitors to our sites, here or on our YouTube Channel or on Google Video. Dr Patrick Dixon has given keynotes at events in 53 countries.

More:  How great conference speakers can transform your business - and make or break your career if you are an event organiser.  Secrets of all great conference speakers.

Discuss your own keynote request or event today: phone or e-mail Patrick Dixon now.

Short clips of different conference videos on management challenges:

Patrick Dixon's YouTube Channel - over 6 million video views of keynotes.  Search 300 videos by topic.

You can also look at some keynotes on Patrick Dixon's SlideShare.

Economics, Finance & Financial Services
Banking - many of Patrick's clients are global banks, investment funds
Economics issues - Patrick creates a big picture of global trends
Insurance - Patrick has worked with many of the world's largest insurers

Technology - Patrick works with many of the world's largest computer, software, telecom, internet and biotech companies
Social Media - Online Communities - how online communities will drive your business
Smartphones - future of telecom, wireless devices, virtual communities, positional advertising
Convergence and divergence - why all competitive advantage comes from divergence
RFID technology - impact on retail, wholesale, distribution and manufacturing

Health and Education
Health care - key trends in health, ageing, biotech, hospitals, clinics
Pharmaceutical industry - impact of the biotech revolution
Education - future of teaching in high schools, colleges and business school

Leadership, Management & Strategy
Change management - a recurring theme
Risk management - preparing for the unexpected
Innovation - smart innovation, open innovation and crowdsourcing 
Leadership - effective ways to drive organisations forward
Logistics and supply chain - critical issues in manufacturing and wholesale
Motivation - how to inspire people to make great things happen
Women at work - challenges for corporations in winning war for talent
Outsourcing - what is going to happen next

Advertising - why traditional approaches are dead in an online world
Customers - how customer demands are changing and why
Customer focus - why many corporations need a reality check, to succeed in future
Marketing - future of marketing and brand development

Travel, Tourism, Energy, Resources and Environment
Travel - future of aviation, road, rail, shipping - for business and leisure
Biofuels - food for fuel? Next generation biofuels. 
Commodities - impact of emerging markets
Energy industry - future energy from oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables
Petrochemical industry - how the industry will change and why
Climate change - why the future is about emotion, not just the science
Sustainability - what does it mean for your business?

Other Topics and Types of Audience
Real estate - key trends in commercial and residential real estate industries
Retailing - developing the customer experience

Looking for other keynote topics?  Search on Patrick Dixon's YouTube Futurist channel.

Dr Patrick Dixon chairing conferences and running panel interviews

Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - 5 minute intro of session on future of entertainment, media, advertising, online communities such as YouTube and perhaps the ultimate consumer experience - space travel with Virgin Galactic

Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - Chairing session on future of broadcasting and the BBC - guest Mark Thompson, Director General BBC

Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - Chairing discussion with co-founder of YouTube Chad Hurley - on meteoric rise of YouTube

Google Zeitgeist CEO Summit - Space Tourism and Virgin Galactic - Chairing session with remarkeable video of early flight, discussion and then closing with whole panel of 5 on range of issues relating to entertainment and virtual life

Need a world-class keynote speaker? Phone Patrick Dixon now or email.

Related news items:
Newer news items:

Thanks for promoting with Facebook LIKE or Tweet. Really interested to hear your views. Post below.

Join the Debate! What are your own views?