What is a keynote speaker?

by | Apr 6, 2022 | Business Growth

If you are asking, ‘What is a keynote speaker’ and ‘how is a keynote speaker different from a public speaker or a guest speaker,’ this article will help.

A keynote speaker will kick-off your event with an opening address.

They will set the tone of the event, captivating, and building the audience up while driving key messaging through a speech. The speech will demonstrate the purpose and the importance of the event, touching on any relevant ideas and concepts. Ultimately the keynote speakers will engage and unify your audience around the key event theme.

Keynotes are typically based around the speaker’s own experiences and knowledge and they often invite the audience to think about a specific topic in a way they have never encountered before.

The keynote speaker is THE speaker at the event, so careful selection is vital. For help finding a keynote speaker check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding a Keynote Speaker.

What is the difference between a public speaker and a professional keynote speaker?

According to Merriam-Webster, public speaking is the act of making speeches in public.

Meanwhile, Pen & Pad suggest there are just 4 types of public speaking:

  • Ceremonial Speaking – weddings, funerals, retirement, tributes & celebrations
  • Demonstrative Speaking – show and tell presentations demonstrating ‘how to…’ or a process. This kind of speaking leaves the audience with more knowledge on how something works or how to achieve something
  • Informative Speaking – speeches that explain an object, event, process or concept. You may find this kind of speech at an industry conference
  • Persuasive Speaking –presentations that give information and include a conclusion that convince the public of a desired viewpoint or action at the end. This could be a sales or investor pitch or political speech.

We believe a public speaker is very different from a professional speaker because a public speaker is someone who may be considered an amateur in the speaking circle. They may speak in public because a role they are playing requires them to do so. This could be part of their job for example.

Meanwhile, a professional speaker earns an income from speaking. This could be the speaker’s sole income or an additional income.

If you are looking for a public speaker, our guide, the Ultimate Guide to finding the right public speaker can help.

Here are the differences between a professional keynote speaker and a public speaker

What is the difference between a guest speaker and a keynote speaker?

A guest speaker is a speaker who has been asked to speak at an event. They will have little or no connection with the organisation running the event. A keynote speaker will open the event, but a guest speaker will not. A guest speaker speaks later in the day and their purpose is often to add a feel-good factor over lunch or dinner and enable people to leave on a high.

Guest speakers can often be a celebrity who may provide some entertainment, inspiration or motivation. They may provide the after-dinner speech and provide some feel good, giving a special address before praising the efforts of others.

If you are looking for more information on guest speakers check out our article on guest speakers here:

We believe all keynote speakers should be Stellar Speakers – able to entertain, connect with an audience and make a positive impact. As a unique speaker agency representing change-making keynote speakers, we provide expertise to help you manage your budgetary expectations and provide realistic options. We provide a preferred partner’s service base, so that partner clients get everything they need, lowering your risk as a booker of speakers, so you can make your choice about your next speaker with confidence.
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If your next conference is around the corner it’s time to book a consultation with Stellar Speakers.

Let us help you find the right keynote speaker to deliver timely messages, fresh themes and introduce the latest methodology and thinking.

Because our speakers are thought-leaders, industry expert and change-agents we help bring out the best in your organisation. Our passion is developing your people.

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