June 04,2024

Keynote speakers, please drop the act.

Keynote speakers, please drop the act!

From LinkedIn:

I’ve noticed many keynote speakers transform into completely different personas on stage, often resulting in presentations that feel way too scripted and inauthentic. When this happens, it feels more like an act than a genuine keynote.

While both keynote speaking and acting involve public performances, they are fundamentally different disciplines with distinct outcomes.

Here are some of the key differences to take note of:

𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 + 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞
Keynote Speaking: Speakers draw on their personal experiences, knowledge, and insights to convey genuine messages. They share real-life stories, lessons learned, and practical advice aimed at inspiring, educating, or motivating the audience.

Acting: Actors portray characters and bring fictional stories to life. Their performances are based on scripts and direction, requiring them to embody personalities and emotions that are not their own.

𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 + 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭
Keynote Speaking: The primary goal is to inform, inspire, or persuade. Keynote speakers address specific topics relevant to the audience, offering valuable insights, fostering discussion, and providing actionable takeaways.

Acting: The main objective is to entertain. Actors aim to immerse the audience in a narrative, evoking emotions and creating an engaging, sometimes escapist experience.

𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Keynote Speaking: Speakers often engage directly with the audience, encouraging interaction, Q&A sessions, and real-time feedback. This dynamic allows for a more personalized and impactful experience.

Acting: Interaction is limited to the performance itself. The audience observes the story without participating, and the actor’s primary focus is on delivering a convincing portrayal within the confines of the script.

𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 + 𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭
Keynote Speaking: Success is measured by the speaker’s ability to connect with the audience on a personal level, leaving a lasting impression that can lead to positive change or new perspectives.

Acting: Success is gauged by the actor’s ability to convincingly inhabit their character and contribute to the overall storytelling, eliciting emotional responses from the audience.

Keynote speaking is rooted in authenticity, personal connection, and imparting knowledge, whereas acting focuses on creating and sustaining a fictional narrative for entertainment.

So for all you speakers who want to truly win over your audience, strive to deliver a genuine keynote, not an act.

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