Successful keynote speakers are givers. They have exceptional thoughts and ideas to share and know how to connect with audiences. To become a good keynote speaker, understand your motivation, focus on delivering optimally packaged value, and market yourself and your keynote speaking services.

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain. 

So, you want to become a keynote speaker. You heard reputable, full-time speakers with solid brands charge $15,000 to $20,000 for speeches, and keynoting sounds like the dream job to you. What does it take to become a successful keynote speaker?

keynote speaker

Keynote speakers are givers.

Leadership coaching is about effecting lasting, meaningful, and sustainable change in how leaders see and approach their responsibilities. As a leadership coaching professional, I look for ways to drive my clients toward their inner cores. Together, we identify triggers and tweaks we can make there, the results of which bubble to the surface in the form of sharper, outer-core competencies and new leadership abilities.

Likewise, as a would-be keynote speaker, you must identify the inner-core elements that help you nail the outer-core competencies that can turn you into a successful speaker.


If your sole motivation for getting into keynote speaking is money or travel, you won’t get far. Successful keynote speakers are givers; they’re successful because others find value in what they have to give.

Success is a peculiar beast; it’s elusive if you chase it. The easiest way to attain it is to grow into a person that attracts it. That’s the essence of executive coaching, and it applies wonderfully to keynote speaking.

In many ways, the objectives of a keynote speaker coincide with those of a leader. Both aim to engage, educate, inspire, and motivate others. Failure threatens the raison d’etre of both.

Successful keynote speakers share business insights, failures, and successes from their personal reservoirs of relevant positive and negative experiences. Some are born entertainers, experts in uplifting people while educating and inspiring them.

Like leadership, keynote speaking builds upon honesty and trust. Audiences can sense when a speaker is insincere and only there for a paycheck, and they promptly penalize such behavior.

Genuine Value

Audiences only listen to keynote speakers who have something exceptional to say. Keynote speaking may involve entertainment-oriented elements, but such elements are the dressing in this context. The main course is information the audience can’t pick up elsewhere.

Many successful keynote speakers draw on their exceptional experiences to offer valuable insights into future trends. Marc Randolph, for example, racked up ample experience as Netflix’s CEO and co-founder before becoming a successful keynote speaker.

Michael Saylor is a renowned entrepreneur and tech visionary whose opinions people value. He’s also a master of metaphors and a capable presenter. He may not be a professional keynote speaker, but he’s acquitted himself of the task with flying colors many times.


Human brains are wired for storytelling, and we always appreciate comedy. However, keynote speaking seeks to convey a seriously interesting point and to educate. Blending these elements into a seamless package is what separates successful keynote speakers from aspiring ones.


We all love a good story. 

Making an exceptional point captures attention and sets the speech off on the right foot. The speaker must keep feeding the fire, however, as a flat presentation will quickly lose the attention of the audience.

Executive coaching understands the ability to educate people while entertaining them can be developed and improved. Would-be keynote speakers can get specialized coaching. Accepting many speaking engagements is another way to practice the essentials of presentation.


Business coaching professionals understand the value of marketing. Marketing, or lack thereof, can make or break careers in business coaching and keynote speaking.

Building a reputation as a keynote speaker is easier now than ever before. A solid online presence can give anyone of taste of what the speaker can accomplish. Joining specialized groups focusing on keynote speaking can also further elevate one’s profile.

Keynote speaking is about giving. If you have something exceptional to say, you must learn to “package” it before serving it up. Spend the time, go through the motions, get feedback, and (above all) learn.

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