How To Give A Keynote Speech

Simple steps you can use to improve your ability to speak in public


Jessie Beck

a year ago | 3 min read

If you're asked to give a keynote speech, it's an honor and a responsibility. Giving a keynote speech is one of the most daunting tasks a person can undertake. There is so much pressure to perform well and deliver a message that will inspire and motivate your audience.

It is actually believed that glossophobia is the most common phobia in the world! Many people are actually more scared of public speaking than they are of dying. If only they knew that conquering this fear is not as hard or frightening as one might think.

According to the professional speaker agency, even some famous people have admitted to suffering from social phobia or fear of performance. They include Barbara Streisand, Dusty Springfield and Peter Gabriel. These people still put on performances despite their fear, so how do they do it?

Without a doubt they have gone through some sort of public speaking training. This is mandatory if you know you have to speak publicly on a regular basis but are afraid to do so.

Some symptoms of public speaking fear include sweating, shaking and rapid heart beat in the moments, hours or even days leading up to the speech or event. Difficulty in sleeping and loss of appetite are extreme symptoms of glossophobia. Often all thoughts are focused on the speech and this makes a person even more nervous as they are constantly thinking about failure rather than thinking positively about it.

Fear of public speaking can be brought upon by past events in which a traumatic incident occurred, such as someone laughing at a person as they gave a speech or perhaps a speech not going quiet as planned. This sort of event can result in years of self doubt when it comes to giving more speeches.

To conquer your fear of public speaking you must be prepared to tackle it head on. You need to continue speaking publicly as this will give you practice. “If you shy away from speaking in public, then your confidence will only wane” suggests John Rogan of Practice speaking in front of groups of friends and family. Often this can actually be harder than speaking in front of strangers so if you feel confident here then you are well on your way to beating the fear of public speaking.

There are also special support groups set up for people who want to improve their speaking skills. You can take classes at night or on weekends. You should be confident in knowing that you will have support from your classmates and that you wont be judged.

“Being afraid of performing or speaking is not something to be ashamed about” suggests Sean Adams of As long as you have realized your fear and begin taking steps to conquer it then you will without a doubt become a much more competent and confident person.

1. Start with a bang.

The beginning of your speech is essential. You need to capture your audience's attention and set the tone for the rest of your talk.

2. Tell a story.

People love stories. Share one that is relevant to your topic and will help illustrate your points.

3. Keep it short and sweet.

No one wants to hear a long, drawn-out speech. Get to the point and be concise.

4. Use humor. Humor is a great way to keep people engaged. But don't overdo it – too much joking around can take away from your message.

5. Make it personal. Your audience wants to connect with you. Share something personal that will help them see you as a real person.

6. End with a bang. Just like your opening, your ending needs to be strong. Leave your audience with something to think about long after your speech is over.


Created by

Jessie Beck







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