When giving a keynote speech, you must determine the tone and atmosphere of an event, program, or conference. A good opening speech is inspiring and unifying for the audience. Giving a keynote speech is a great responsibility; however, when done right, it can make your audience feel empowered and excited. To write a good opening speech, you start by identifying the purpose and the audience. Then you can come up with a speech that is entertaining and well structured. Always polish the speech so that it is written as well as possible before you present it.
Part 1 of 3: Brainstorming Keynote Address
Step 1. Determine the purpose of the speech
Ask yourself "Why do I want to give this speech?" or "What am I trying to say when I present this speech?" Often the main purpose of a keynote speech is to reiterate or explore the theme of an event, program, or conference. Also, if you have knowledge about the subject, you can share it at the opening.
If the event has a theme, perhaps you can use it as a purpose or inspiration for your speech. For example, if the theme of the event is “Social Responsibility,” the purpose of the speech may be to explore your experiences with social responsibility on a professional and personal level
Step 2. Identify the audience's interest
Ask yourself "Who am I talking to?" or "Who is my speech made for?" Think about the age range of the audience, as well as their background and level of experience. Design your speech to suit your audience.
For example, if the people in your audience are in the 20 to 30 age range and are advocates of social responsibility, you can make the speech light, interesting, and full of specialized language that you think they will understand
Step 3. Make one or three key points for the speech
A good opening speech will have at least one or two key points (or incentives) that will get the audience interested. Write one or three key points that expand on the main purpose of the speech. It can be one or three terms that you will talk about in detail or one or three ideas.
For example, if you write a speech on the topic of social responsibility, you can focus on three key points, the history, the current state and where social responsibility is heading
Step 4. Read examples of keynote speeches
If you want to get a better idea of the style, tone, and language of a keynote address, read good examples online. You can search for a list of the best keynotes online or search for keynotes presented on public speaking sites like Ted Talks.
You can find the best keynote speeches of 2016 at
Part 2 of 3: Crafting the Keynote Address
Step 1. Start with an interesting story
One of the best ways to get your audience's attention is to tell a short, interesting story. Think of a story from your own experience in the field. Pay attention to current events to get a story that relates to the purpose of the speech. Try to tell the story in points, highlighting key moments in a couple of sentences.
- For example, if you are writing a keynote speech about diversity in the classroom, you can tell a story about a student of color that you have worked with as a teacher in a classroom.
- You can also search the news for a story about a student of color who has spoken in public about difficulties with diversity in the classroom, preferably a news article based on your area or country.
Step 2. Start with an interesting fact
Another option is to start with a fact that you find interesting. Select a fact that many people or the majority of the audience may not know about. You can use a fact from your own research or look up facts from reliable sources that relate to the purpose of the speech.
For example, if the purpose of the speech is to discuss social responsibility in the corporate world, you can open with a fact about how consumers tend to buy more if a brand is socially responsible
Step 3. State the purpose of the speech
At the beginning of the speech, you should also state the purpose clearly and concisely. You can set the purpose immediately after the opening event or story. Establish the purpose by saying “I'm here to tell you about…” or “I want to share with you today about…”.
For example, you can introduce the purpose by saying something like "I'm here today to talk to you about social responsibility, which is the subject of this conference and the subject of much of my professional work."
Step 4. Use humor to add some fun
Humor can be a great tool in a keynote speech. Being funny can help build audience interest and make your speech memorable. Try to adopt a light, teasing tone throughout your speech. Also, try to balance the funny parts and the serious moments.
For example, you can make a funny part self-critical by saying something like, “I wasn't always a great teacher. Sometimes I was known as the funny teacher or the annoying teacher, not always the wonderful one. "
Step 5. Repeat the terms and keywords
Repetition can be a good way to reinforce your ideas and remind your audience of key points in your speech. Go back to several key terms in your speech to keep your audience engaged. Make a point previously discussed so that the audience will remember the purpose of the speech.
For example, you can highlight terms (such as "unity," "commitment," and "social awareness") from the speech by returning to these at least a couple of times. You can start the speech by mentioning these terms and then returning to these later in the speech
Step 6. Write your speech using a natural voice
Don't try to be professional or formal, especially if it makes you uncomfortable. Try to express yourself as you would to a colleague or friend. Use the language you use on a daily basis and try to instill a natural voice into your speech. You will be more compelling and interesting this way.
For example, you can use the funny phrases that you use with your students in your classroom in the speech. You can also use less formal words and terms to keep your speech conversational
Step 7. End the speech with a call to action
End the speech by exhorting the audience to take some kind of action. The action may be to think of an idea that you may not have thought about before, or to become more involved with some members of your community. Ending with a call to action will give the audience a clear incentive.
You can make a call to action that has to do with the story or fact that you used at the beginning of the speech. For example, "Just like the student in my class who reached out to a person in need, I ask you now to be sensitive, to try to reach out to someone in your communities who needs help."
Part 3 of 3: Polish the Keynote Address
Step 1. Read the speech out loud
When you have a complete outline of the speech, take the time to read the speech aloud to yourself and others. Listen as the speech flows. See if there are sentences or sections that don't sound right. Arrange them so that the speech sounds natural and polished.
- When you read the speech aloud, see if you have omitted any words. You may be able to remove any words you omit for greater fluency.
- If you read the speech out loud to other people, you can ask them to tell you what they think about it. Ask them if any part of the speech seems boring or difficult to understand. Be open to constructive criticism of the speech so that it is well crafted.
Step 2. Correct the speech
Be sure to check your speech for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Try to read the speech backwards to confirm that each word is spelled correctly. Circle the entire score and confirm that it is correct.
Correct punctuation is especially important if you are going to read your speech aloud in front of an audience, as punctuation will tell you when to pause or take a breath. Often times, a comma will allow you to pause your speech and a period will allow you to take a short breath
Step 3. Check the speech for clarity and appropriate length
You should also review the speech to make sure each section is clear and easy to understand. Often times, the shorter the better, so if there are any verbose or overly long sections, try to shorten them. Search for any word or term that is not necessary.