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Turning Training into Keynotes

Tracy Peterson Turner

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Following are the answers I received about turning training into keynotes.

-- Michael Mercer

Here's my method to turn a workshop/seminar into a keynote speech.

  1. Find out the length of keynote, e.g., 30, 45, 60, 75, or 90 minutes
  2. Subtract 10 minutes from the overall length -- because most keynotes start late!
  3. Subtract 10 minutes from remaining length -- 5 minutes for your opening & 5 minutes for your closing.
  4. Now you know how much time you have for the "body" of your keynote. Example: If your keynote is scheduled for 60 minutes, your real time for "body" of your keynote is 40 minutes.
  5. Take your relevant workshop/seminar on your keynote topic, and choose the most exciting 40 minutes from your workshop that you feel sure will be a big hit in a keynote setting (not only a workshop setting).
  6. Create a 5-minute opening/start for your keynote that simultaneously gets audience to like you, consider you an expert on your topic, and smile/laugh.
  7. Create a 5-minute "closing"/ending for your keynote that induces the audience to laugh and/or smile and/or cry.

Voila!! For your 60-minute scheduled keynote, for instance, you now have an exciting 50-minute keynote: 5-minute opening, 40-minute body, and 5-minute closing. If you can start your keynote on time and you get all your scheduled keynote time, don't worry: No audience ever felt upset with a speaker who finished a few minutes early! If your planned 50-minute keynote time is reduced due to the conference/meeting running late, decide specific ideas/anecdotes/jokes/sections you will not deliver -- and the audience will not realize you left something out.

-- Johnny Campbell

A trainer's blessing and cure is that they have too much content, because they are trying to do programs that will last 1 day, 2 days or a week. The best way I found is to take the best parts of my training programs and cutting them up into little stories. Example: In a customer service training session...the (how to) provided in customer service training is important. However in a keynote the (WHY) you provide good customer service is MORE important.

Template illustration

  1. Tell a story about a personal or third party customer service situation
  2. Tell how it went wrong
  3. Then tell what you learn from the experiences
  4. Then tell briefly how it could be fixed, keeping in mind the skills and abilities of the audience (note: a good keynoter empowers the audience to feel they can fix the problem).
  5. Then tell why it so important to them to provide good C.S. (Benefits statements).
  6. Then give the audience a call to action on the issue.

-- Michael Podolinsky

The #1 problem for trainers who start keynoting is they keep training. A keynote is 50% entertainment and 50% content. Less is usually more.

Bill Gove taught me the value of vignettes. Look for stories to illustrate your points and develop a story for each point. Your *own* stories. Remember the roller coaster of highs from either energy and laughter and the very serious, slower lows where the main points can sink in. Take 5 good, 5-minute stories with a good opening, close, segues and remember to interact, to share *with* the audience, not talk at them. And PLEASE, PLEASE, don't use PowerPoint! Smile. Robert Henry taught me to be 'In Fun.'

-- Natalie Brecher

Here's a good resource for training to keynotes: Doug Stevenson's teleseminar tape, "Make the Move from Training to Keynotes." It has information about the differences and how to take your training material and turn it into a keynote. www.storytheater.net

Editors' note: Lisa Ford did an excellent SNN teleseminar on "How to Go from Training to Keynotes." Order the recording here.

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