The world of a keynote speaker is full of possibilities if you take the right actions in your journey.

Jumping into the world of becoming a keynote speaker is like learning the ropes of turning your words into something that truly hits home. This guide takes you through the steps, helping you transform your love for speaking into a real skill. 

It covers all the steps in detail that you need to take to get behind that podium and leave a lasting impact on your audience. So, let’s kick off the adventure of becoming a keynote speaker!

Table of Content

  1. What is a Keynote Speaker?
  2. How to Become a Keynote Speaker
    2.1 Identify Your Niche
    2.2 Develop Expertise
    2.3 Hone Your Speaking Skills
    2.4 Create a Compelling Speaker Profile
    2.5 Build an Online Presence
    2.6 Network Within Your Industry
    2.7 Create a Speaker Reel
    2.8 Offer Free or Low-Cost Speaking Engagements
    2.9 Seek Speaking Opportunities
    2.10 Deliver Exceptional Presentations
    2.11 Request and Showcase Testimonials
  3. Essential Qualities of a Good Keynote Speaker
  4. Key Takeaway

What is a Keynote speaker?

A keynote speaker is like the main storyteller at an event. They’re the person who talks to the audience, sharing important ideas, inspiring thoughts, or giving insights on a specific topic. It’s a bit like being the leader of a conversation, setting the tone for the event, and making a lasting impression on the listeners.

Typically, the keynote speaker speaks either first or last at an event. The placement can vary based on the agenda and the event organizer’s preference. If the keynote speaker goes first, they set the tone and grab the audience’s attention. If they speak last, it often leaves a lasting impression and provides a memorable conclusion to the event.

How to Become a Keynote Speaker

Becoming a keynote speaker involves a strategic and intentional approach to developing your skills, establishing expertise, and building a reputation. Here are 11 key steps to guide you on the path to becoming a successful keynote speaker:

1. Identify Your Niche

Identifying your niche involves discovering what truly excites you and where your expertise lies. Here’s a more detailed look-

  • Explore Your Passion 

Start by reflecting on your passions and interests. Identify those topics that bring genuine excitement to your conversations. Think about activities or hobbies that bring joy into your life. For example, your niche could naturally gravitate towards travel and adventure if you’re an enthusiastic traveler. Or, If your passion lies in digital marketing, it makes sense to share your insights at a conference catering to marketing professionals rather than an IT-focused event.

This alignment ensures that your talk resonates with the audience, creating a meaningful connection. You might enjoy sharing stories, offering tips, and providing cultural insights about your journeys. Take inspiration from Farrah Smith, a life coach and entrepreneur, who secured her initial speaking opportunity following a TED Talk. During the talk, she delved into how her life experiences shaped her passion and contributed to her present self.

Tip: Create a “Passion Board” where you pin or jot down your interests. It could be a mix of images, quotes, or even a travel map with places you dream of exploring. This visual aid can help identify themes that consistently capture your enthusiasm.

  • Evaluate your Expertise 

Assess your skills and knowledge. What do you excel in? Your niche should align with your expertise, making you a credible source in that area. If you’re a software developer with a knack for creating user-friendly applications, your niche could revolve around user experience and technology advancements.

Tip: Design a playful “Skills Wheel” that showcases your strengths. Each spoke represents a skill; you can color in the areas where you feel most confident. It adds a touch of creativity to the analytical process.

  • Indulge in Market Research

Investigate the demand for different topics within your industry. Explore what people discuss on social media, forums, or industry publications. Identify gaps where your unique perspective or expertise can fill a need. For instance, if sustainability in business is a trending topic, and you have a background in eco-friendly practices, this could be your opportunity to contribute valuable insights and position yourself as an authority in the field. 

Market research and analysis of current market trends is essential before entering into speaking business. Pic Courtesy: Freepik

Tip: Create a “Trend Treasure Map” where you mark the hot topics in your industry as treasure chests. Connect these chests with paths that represent potential niches you could explore. It adds an adventurous aspect to your market research.

2. Develop Expertise

Developing expertise involves staying on the cutting edge of your field, which can be an exciting journey. Here’s a detailed explanation-

  • Trend Surfing

Stay current with industry trends by immersing yourself in relevant content. Subscribe to industry newsletters, follow thought leaders on social media, and participate in online forums. Imagine these trends as waves in the vast sea of information. Surfing these waves keeps you balanced on the industry’s ever-changing waters.

Tip: Create a “Trend Surfboard” where you list current trends as waves. Draw yourself riding these waves, symbolizing your engagement with the latest industry happenings. It adds a playful touch to staying informed.

  • Explore Different Events

Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars to dive deep into your field. These events are like treasure chests full of knowledge and networking opportunities. Imagine yourself as an explorer embarking on a quest for industry wisdom. Each event is a new territory to conquer, filled with valuable insights waiting to be discovered.

Tip: Design an “Event Passport” where you stamp each conference or workshop attended. Add a brief note about the key takeaways, creating a visual adventure log. It transforms the learning process into a quest for knowledge.

  • Treat Your Field as a Practical Playground

Seek opportunities to apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios. Whether it’s through internships, volunteering, or personal projects, treat your field as a practical playground. This hands-on experience solidifies your understanding and adds a layer of fun to the learning process.

Tip: Create a “Knowledge Garden” where a plant or flower represents each practical experience. Watch your garden bloom as you cultivate your expertise. It provides a visual representation of your hands-on learning journey.

3. Hone Your Speaking Skills

Honing your speaking skills is like fine-tuning a musical instrument – it takes practice, feedback, and a touch of creativity. To learn how to improve your speaking skills, you should check out our article Speak with Impact: 13 Public Speaking Techniques to Leave a Lasting Impression

Let’s dive into the process-

  • Treat Practice Sessions as Solo Symphonies

Regular practice is the cornerstone of refining your speaking skills. Treat your practice sessions as solo symphonies where you orchestrate your words, experimenting with different tones and styles.

Tip: Create a “Practice Playlist” where you jot down different speaking styles or techniques you want to try. Each practice session is a chance to play a new track, turning your preparation into a musical adventure.

  • Join a Public Speaking Group

Joining a public speaking group like Toastmasters is a time-traveling experience. Each meeting is a journey where you explore different speaking styles, receive constructive feedback, and witness the growth of fellow speakers. Picture it as a time machine propelling you into the future, where your speaking skills evolve with each meeting.

Tip: Design a “Toastmasters Passport” where you stamp each meeting attended. Add a short note about the skills practiced or lessons learned, creating a visual timeline of your public speaking adventures.

  • Practice the Right Body Language 

Just as a dancer communicates through movements, your body language conveys a powerful message. Imagine your stage presence as a “Body Language Ballet,” where each gesture, posture, and movement choreograph a compelling performance. Practice intentional gestures and observe how they enhance your overall communication. To learn more about the right kind of body language, read 10 Ways to Unleash the Power of Effective Body Language in Public Speaking

Tip: Create a “Body Language Sketchbook” where you doodle or sketch different gestures and postures—experiment with what feels natural and impactful, turning exploring body language into a creative endeavor.

4. Create a Compelling Speaker Profile

Crafting a compelling speaker profile is crucial for showcasing your expertise and attracting speaking opportunities. You can check out our article on How to Brand Yourself Professionally in 11 Practical Steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide on creating an impactful speaker profile-

  • Craft a Professional Bio

Begin with a well-crafted bio introducing you and your background. Highlight your expertise, relevant qualifications, and any notable achievements. Keep it concise and engaging, providing a snapshot of who you are as a speaker. 

Example: “With a decade of experience in digital marketing and a passion for inspiring teams, [Your Name] is a dynamic speaker known for demystifying the complexities of the ever-evolving digital landscape.”

  • Use Testimonials

Incorporate testimonials from previous speaking engagements or endorsements from industry professionals. Testimonials add credibility and provide social proof of your effectiveness as a speaker. Choose quotes that emphasize the impact of your presentations.


  • “A captivating speaker who effortlessly translates complex concepts into actionable insights.” – [Colleague Name], Marketing Executive
  • “Our audience was engaged and inspired, thanks to [Your Name]’s insightful and energetic presentation.” – [Event Organizer Name], XYZ Conference
  • Highlight Your Speaking Experience

Detail your speaking experience, including past events, conferences, and organizations you’ve partnered with. Highlight any prestigious platforms or well-known event websites where you have spoken. This section reinforces your credibility and showcases your journey as a speaker. Take it from consultant and speaker Somers White. With almost 40 years of experience in the industry, Somers says, “90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” It means your performance will depend on the strength of the foundation you’ve built on the backend. 

Example: “Featured Speaker at ABC Marketing Summit 2022, Guest Speaker for TEDx [City], Workshop Facilitator at National Leadership Conference.”

  • Contact Information

Conclude your profile with clear contact information, making it easy for event organizers to contact you. Include your email address, phone number, and links to your professional social media profiles or website.

Connect with [Your Name]:
Email: []
Phone: [Your Phone Number]
LinkedIn: [Your LinkedIn Profile]
Website: []

5. Build an Online Presence

Building an online presence is not just about having a digital presence; it’s about creating a dynamic and engaging platform that reflects your personality and expertise. Let’s delve into the process with some examples-

  • Create a Professional Website

Imagine your website as your online stage. Create a design that resonates with your speaking style. If you’re known for energetic and vibrant presentations, infuse those colors into your website. It’s like setting the stage for your virtual performance.

A well-designed layout of your website is your first impression to the world. Pic Courtesy: Freepik

Tip: Incorporate an interactive “Backstage” section where visitors can explore behind-the-scenes content – from your speaking preparation rituals to candid moments at events.

  • Create a Digital Portfolio

Treat your portfolio as your digital trophy cabinet. Display photos from your speaking engagements, event logos, and any press coverage. It’s like creating a visual scrapbook of your speaking journey.

Tip: Introduce a “Clap Counter” that tallies virtual applause for each speaking engagement. It adds a playful touch and showcases the popularity of your presentations.

  • Have a Blog or Insights Section

Think of your blog as your digital diary. Share personal anecdotes, industry insights, and reflections. It’s like inviting your audience to join you on a continuous learning journey.

Tip: Introduce a “Knowledge Carousel” where readers can spin through different blog categories. Each spin reveals a new topic, turning exploring your insights into a fun and interactive experience.

  • Incorporate SEO Optimization

SEO is like your online treasure map. Optimize your website with relevant keywords to ensure event organizers can easily discover you. It’s like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for them to follow.

Tip: Create an “SEO Quest” where visitors explore your website to find hidden keywords. Those who complete the quest get exclusive bonus content or resources.

  • Promote Your Events 

Promoting your speaking engagements is like selling tickets to your live show. Use event hashtags, create countdowns, and engage with organizers and attendees. It’s like building anticipation for a blockbuster event.

Tip: Launch a “Countdown Calendar” on your website for upcoming events. Each day reveals a fun fact or teaser about your presentation, creating buzz and excitement. For more ideas and information on promoting your event, check out  An Ultimate Guide To Understand Event Marketing on Social Media.

6. Network Within Your Industry

Attend industry events, conferences, and networking gatherings to connect with professionals in your field. You can pick up some tips from our article on 29 Dynamic Networking Event Ideas to Make a Lasting Impression. Building relationships can lead to speaking opportunities and recommendations. Here’s how to do it-

  • Discover Connections at Conferences 

Conferences are like immersive journeys into your industry. Picture yourself as an explorer, discovering new insights and connecting with fellow adventurers. Don’t worry if the next conference is your first one; you can pick up some tips from our Ultimate Guide to Successfully Attending a Conference for the First Time

Tip: Host a “Conference Explorer Challenge” on social media, encouraging others to share their conference highlights. It adds a sense of camaraderie to the exploration.

  • Build Professional Relationships 

Build relationships authentically; it’s not just about business cards. Imagine your network as a garden. Nurture it with care, and it will blossom over time.

Tip: Send personalized “Digital Flowers” (virtual bouquets or gifs) to new connections as a playful way to express gratitude for building the relationship.

7. Create a Speaker Reel

Compile video clips of your previous speaking engagements, interviews, or presentations. A well-edited speaker reel provides a snapshot of your speaking style and can be a powerful tool for attracting event organizers. Here are some ideas-

  • Assemble an Impactful Reel 

Compile impactful video clips from your previous speaking engagements. Think of your reel as a movie trailer – it should capture attention and leave the audience wanting more.

Tip: Introduce a “Reel Remix Challenge” on social media, where followers create their own versions of your reel using creative editing tools. It turns the reel creation process into an interactive and engaging activity.

  • Create a Diverse Footage

Includes a variety of clips showcasing different speaking environments. Your reel is a visual portfolio, so diversity in settings and audiences adds depth.

Tip: Create a “Spot the Setting” contest where viewers guess the locations of your various speaking engagements. It adds an interactive element to your reel.

  • Include Interview Insights

Incorporate snippets from interviews, adding a personal touch. Interviews provide a glimpse into your personality and expertise beyond the stage.

Showcase snippets of your interviews via your YouTube channel or Instagram. Pic Courtesy: Freepik

Tip: Host a “Behind-the-Scenes Interview” where you answer quirky or unexpected questions. Share this on social media alongside your reel for a lighthearted touch.

8. Offer Free or Low-Cost Speaking Engagements

Initially, offer your services for free or at a minimal cost to gain experience and build a portfolio. This also allows you to collect testimonials and establish a track record as a compelling speaker. Here are a few methods to go around it-

  • Build an Interesting Portfolio 

Treat each free engagement as a portfolio-building opportunity. Think of it like adding puzzle pieces to complete the picture of your capabilities.

Tip: Develop a “Portfolio Puzzle” on your website, where each speaking engagement represents a puzzle piece. Encourage visitors to complete the puzzle by exploring your various engagements.

  • Keep a Track Record 

Establish a track record as a compelling speaker. Envision your track record as a vibrant tapestry woven with each speaking engagement.

Tip: Introduce a “Track Record Tapestry” visual on your website, where each speaking opportunity adds a thread to the tapestry. It provides a dynamic and visually appealing representation of your journey.

9. Seek Speaking Opportunities

Actively look for speaking opportunities at conferences, seminars, workshops, and industry events. Submit proposals, contact event organizers, and leverage your network to secure speaking engagements. Let’s go through a few steps to do it-

  •  Work on a Persuasive Proposal

Submit well-crafted proposals for speaking slots. Picture your proposal as a persuasive love letter to event organizers, showcasing your expertise and enthusiasm.

Tip: Organize a “Proposal Poetry Challenge” on social media, where followers share creative proposals or taglines for your next speaking opportunity. It adds a playful touch to the submission process.

  • Set in Motion a Network Navigator

Leverage your network to discover and secure speaking engagements. Imagine your network as a treasure map, guiding you to hidden speaking gems.

Tip: Launch a “Network Navigator Challenge” on social media, where followers suggest potential speaking opportunities based on your network connections. It turns networking into a collaborative adventure.

  • Initiate a Speaking Spiderweb

Expand your web of speaking opportunities, connecting with diverse events. Envision your speaking engagements as threads, weaving a dynamic spiderweb of experiences.

Tip: Introduce a “Speaking Spiderweb” graphic on your website, showcasing the interconnectedness of your speaking journey. It provides a visually appealing representation of your expanding reach.

10. Deliver Exceptional Presentations

Focus on delivering high-quality, engaging presentations that leave a lasting impact on your audience. A reputation for delivering valuable content will contribute to your success as a keynote speaker. Here are a few methods-

  • Master the Art of Presenting 

Focus on delivering presentations that showcase your expertise. Treat each presentation as a masterpiece, carefully crafted to leave a lasting impression. For example, Colette Carlson is a humorous speaker who frequently blends humor and performance into her lectures. She epitomizes combining a distinctive presentation style with a serious message. 

Tip: Introduce a “Presentation Masterclass” on social media, where followers suggest quirky or unique elements to incorporate into your next presentation. It adds a collaborative and playful touch.

  • Focus on Having Engaging Experiences

Prioritize audience engagement, making each presentation interactive. Imagine your presentation as a two-way street, where both you and the audience actively participate.

Every speaking event you take part in adds up when it comes to learning proper body language, audience management, and presentation skills. Pic Courtesy: Freepik

Tip: Host a “Presentation Participation Challenge” during your talks, encouraging the audience to contribute ideas or reactions. It turns the presentation into a shared experience.

  • Leave a Lasting Impression 

Craft presentations with the intention of leaving a lasting impact. Visualize your presentation as a ripple effect, with each idea creating waves of influence.

Tip: Create an “Impactful Ideas Board” on your website, where followers can suggest ideas or topics they believe would have a lasting impact. It turns the impact-building process into a collaborative effort.

11. Request and Showcase Testimonials

Ask event organizers and attendees for testimonials after each speaking engagement. Positive testimonials can be powerful endorsements that boost your credibility and attract future opportunities. Here’s how you can display it-

  • Showcase Post-Presentation Praise

Politely request testimonials from event organizers and attendees. Picture testimonials as post-presentation applause, a virtual round of appreciation.

Tip: Create a “Virtual Applause Meter” on your website, where each testimonial contributes to the applause level. It visually represents the positive impact of your presentations.

  • Design a Testimonial Showcase Wall

Showcase collected testimonials prominently on your website. Envision your website as a “Testimonial Showcase Wall,” displaying the praise received.

Tip: Host a “Testimonial of the Month” on social media, showcasing a highlighted testimonial with a creative visual or quote. It adds a consistent and engaging testimonial-sharing ritual.

  • Create Video Testimonial Vignettes

Request video testimonials for a dynamic and authentic touch. Imagine video testimonials as short vignettes, capturing the essence of your impact.

Tip: Launch a “Video Testimonial Spotlight” series on social media, sharing snippets of video testimonials with a fun or interesting fact about the speaker-engagement relationship. It turns testimonials into engaging storytelling.

Essential Qualities of a Good Keynote Speaker

Being a successful keynote speaker requires a unique set of qualities that go beyond mere public speaking skills. If the next conference is your first time as a keynote speaker, you should check out 7 Effective Techniques to Combat the Fear of Public Speaking

Now, let’s explore a few essential qualities and understand how they come into play, making a keynote speaker truly impactful-

  • Expertise

A good keynote speaker possesses a deep understanding of the subject matter. This expertise allows them to share valuable insights and practical knowledge. For instance, let’s talk about a technology conference where the keynote speaker, a seasoned software engineer, explains complex coding concepts in a way that resonates with both technical and non-technical audiences. This expertise not only informs but also builds trust with the listeners.

  • Engaging Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively is paramount. A good keynote speaker uses clear language and captivating storytelling to maintain the audience’s interest. Picture a marketing expert at a business summit using relatable anecdotes and real-world examples to illustrate marketing strategies. Such engaging communication keeps the audience invested in the presentation, ensuring that the key messages are understood and remembered.

  • Inspiration and Motivation

A great keynote speaker has the power to inspire and motivate. For example, a leadership conference where the keynote speaker, a successful entrepreneur, shares personal stories of overcoming challenges. The speaker imparts valuable lessons by doing so and inspires the audience to tackle their obstacles with renewed energy. 

  • Authenticity

Authenticity establishes a genuine connection with the audience. Good keynote speakers remain true to themselves, sharing experiences and insights in a relatable manner. In a personal development seminar, an authentic speaker who openly discusses their own struggles and triumphs creates an atmosphere of trust, allowing the audience to connect more profoundly.

  • Preparation

Thorough preparation is a hallmark of a successful keynote speaker. Preparation is key, whether customizing the presentation to suit the audience or rehearsing the delivery for optimal impact. For example, a healthcare conference where the keynote speaker, a renowned medical researcher, tailors their presentation to address specific concerns of the attending healthcare professionals. This level of preparation ensures the content is relevant and resonates with the audience.

  • Interactivity

Incorporating interactive elements enhances audience engagement. A skilled keynote speaker invites questions, conducts polls, or encourages discussions to make the presentation more dynamic. For instance, at an educational summit, a keynote speaker might pause for audience reflections, creating an interactive session that fosters a deeper connection and understanding of the topic.

Key Takeaway

A person’s speaking career is a fulfilling endeavor that requires dedication, passion, and a step-by-step approach. From identifying your niche to delivering exceptional presentations, each stage contributes to the evolution of your speaking prowess.

Remember, the path to becoming a keynote speaker is not just about reaching the destination but savoring every step of the process.  If you’re eager to stay informed about the latest trends and insights in the event industry, visit our site- Eventible. You should also sign up for Eventible’s speaker directory, The Gazebo – B2B Speaker Directory. It’s a community of the most popular speakers as chosen by event attendees worldwide. 

Keep the momentum going, stay inspired, and let your journey as a keynote speaker unfold with each speaking opportunity. Your impactful voice is ready to resonate – seize the stage and make it yours.

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