August 13, 2018

The image on this post shows a thoughtful person – perhaps a scholar. It’s not an image much associated with business keynote speakers, who generally present a somewhat flashy, driven persona. But I think that the best speakers are not necessarily the guys who jump all over the stage in sweaty, religious fervor. I mean, they can be entertaining for sure, but I don’t believe the theatrics are what make them great business keynote speakers.

Instead, I think the best have the following four qualities.

Students of business and people

Great business keynote speakers can speak to a wide range of audiences because they study business all the time. They understand the ins and outs of making something successful because they absorb the many lessons from business leaders past and present. They possess a curiosity which leads them to discover the whys of both failure and success in order to teach these lessons to others.

In addition to business, great speakers also know people. They are masters of emotional intelligence and adapt to the people in front of them. They can successfully inform and motivate both hip, millennial crowds and older, conservative types.


Business keynote speakers with a lot of experience relate to more audiences than green ones. They have been in the trenches, and what they say carries a lot of weight with professionals. The depth of their knowledge allows them to produce customized presentations to suit the requirements of specific groups. Q&A sessions tend to be more valuable for attendees as well, as they get to pick the keynote speaker’s brain for new insights a less experienced speaker may not be able to offer.


Charisma allows business keynote speakers to better connect with audiences. Without it, the emotional component is missing, and people tune out. Charisma should not be confused with flamboyance, although flamboyant people can be quite charismatic. An understated person can be just as charismatic through the way they address and connect with people. Eye contact, smiling, a pleasing voice, recognizing the importance of others – these all contribute to the charm needed to win over seminar attendees.

Understand your goals

The best speakers do not simply show up to deliver their talk and rush off to their next engagement (where they deliver the exact same material). Rather, they align their content with your goals for the event, whether that be a pumped-up sales force ready to rock, or a more serious self-discovery or brainstorming experience. Best practices involve a conversation with the speaker personally rather than a representative to discuss desired outcomes, as well as a possible, follow up to address queries it was not possible to fully address during the Q&A.

Business keynote speakers can drive bottom line revenue growth through motivation and education. Consider hiring one for your next company meeting or training session.