Is the traditional keynoter an endangered species? While in Vancouver at the Global Speakers Summit, I spoke to a number of bureau heads and bookers about what they are looking for in speakers. There was considerable agreement on three trends:
1) Length of speeches. Everyone I spoke to said that the format of 15-20 minutes speaking, followed by 45 minutes Q&A was increasing in popularity. Some said that's all they look for. They want speakers who can engage an audience with their depth of knowledge and expertise, not with a prepared delivery.
2) Level of engagement. Everyone, yes, everyone, wants speakers to engage with the audience before, during and after the event. They want webinars, tweetchats, social media engagement, Google hangouts - all part of the deal. Just turning up on the day, speaking and leaving won't cut it any more.
3) Interaction. Forget the "turn off your phones" stuff. We need to be interacting with our audiences during our speeches, using apps like Pigeonhole Live, Poll Everywhere and the Twitter back-channel.
I've already incorporated these trends into what I offer, and I will keep watching the market to see how to keep adapting. My view is that if the traditional keynote is all you offer, you'd better check the route to the elephant graveyard. What say you?
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