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What is it about an amazing keynote presentation that can leave an audience riveted? Why is it that some keynotes resonate while others fall short – even at the hands of the most renowned presenters? To select winning keynotes for your events that engage audiences every time, think about them like you would hit songs.

To shed light on this analogy, consider the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Jackson made a career out of releasing chart-topping hit after chart-topping hit. However, despite 30 ‘Top 10’ hits [source: Billboard 100], there were hundreds more that didn’t receive this level of recognition.

While songs like ‘Beat It’ (1982) took the world by storm with its genre-blurring rock melody, timely subject matter, and cameo guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen; songs like ‘Speed Demon’ (1987) fell by the wayside.

One could argue that ‘Speed Demon’ was simply overshadowed by the record-breaking 5 number one hits also released on the ‘Bad’ album. However, ‘Speed Demon’ lacked everything that ‘Beat It’ had – a catchy melody, a compelling storyline, relatability to the audience, and an overall level of depth and thoughtfulness that kept it from making a compelling connection.

When it comes down to it, delivering an amazing keynote, much like achieving a hit song, is about great storytelling – and that means connecting with your audience. Doing so means providing the most compelling package possible. ‘Beat It’ was simply a more complete package.

The following are some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a keynote presentation that will resonate with your audience.

Purposeful This should be a no-doubter if you regularly follow SongDivision. Keynotes are not just for entertainment. Just as a hit song has a core message that moves people in a desired way, so too should your keynotes. To create the most engaging experience that attendees will remember well beyond the event, careful consideration should be taken as to how the message, delivery, and presenter tie into the purpose of your event.

Catchy A great keynote, like a great song has a rhythm and flow that grabs audiences from the get-go. This has as much to do with the personality and delivery of the presenter as it does the content. Consider how the message and presentation style will relate to your audience. Like a hook from a great song that we can’t help but recall time and time again, a catchy keynote develops likeability and rapport with attendees, and makes for a memorable event.

Compelling Many of the greatest musical hits of all time tell an interesting or complex story in a concise framework. In many cases, these songs do such a good job of it that you don’t even realize you’ve been sucked in. Effective keynotes equally demonstrate a level of depth and thoughtfulness delivered in bite-sized pieces. Ensure your selected presenter has a compelling story and the ability to eloquently tell it.

Inspirational Hit songs often push boundaries and inspire us to think in new ways through unique melodies, sonic design, superior storytelling, or all of the above. When these fresh ideas come our way, it incites innovative thinking. Great keynotes work in a similar fashion by offering thought-provoking perspectives that leave audiences seeking ways to best use this newly acquired knowledge.

Fortuitous Yes, you read that correctly – luck. As with many hit songs, sometimes the stars simply have to align for the right artist, at the right time, with the right message and delivery to get the ideal mix of emotion and entertainment. The same can be said for a meaningful keynote. You can’t control every aspect of how your audience will react, and there is no perfect science when it comes to a moving keynote. However, the more boxes from above that you can check off, the more you improve your chances of producing a hit.

With all this talk of great keynotes and hit songs, what happens when your keynote is literally delivered using music? In addition to the engagement and lasting impressions generated by any great keynote, keynotes using music benefit from team building components scientifically linked to the medium. When audiences experience music together, signals in their brain produce a feeling of happiness as well as a heightened sense of belonging. This translates into memorable experiences that build strong teams.

Ensure your keynotes achieve legendary status with SongDivision’s music-infused, interactive Keynotes delivered by our experienced musicians and thought leaders, designed to engage your audience on the topics of Innovation, Leadership, and Cultural Transformation.


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