The best speakers aren't those who just speak; they are those who plant seeds of inspiration and catalyze positive change in the hearts and minds of their audience." - Tony Robbins
I’ve been speaking at schools across the country for almost 15 years now. Three things have become apparent to me:
1. The Search for Guidance:** There are always people looking for help.
2. Unmeasurable Impact:** The impact I’ve been able to make at the places I’ve visited is truly immeasurable for both the audience and myself.
3. Continuous Learning:** I’m constantly learning new things to share and spread with more people.
As year 15 approaches, I thought I'd create my first blog post about the power of an inspiring keynote speaker for your event. I’ve spoken at hundreds of speaking engagements over the years (you can find them here). Whether you are a parent or an educator, we’ve all been in that seat at parent-teacher conferences, school board meetings, and teachers' assemblies where we find ourselves uncontrollably glaring at the clock every 5 minutes, counting down the seconds until we can get up and leave. Trust me, I've been there. As someone who has now opened up his 5th school, I’ve probably attended more than most. What gets me every time, though, is how the featured speaker or keynote speaker at a school conference or event can either make or break it.
When we have these meetings or conferences for parents or for fellow educator colleagues, we don't just meet for the sake of seeing each other. We meet because of a shared mission we are trying to accomplish, to breathe inspiration within our staff, or to seek help in areas where we might find ourselves struggling.
Choosing the right keynote speaker who is an expert with experience in the field is pivotal to having a successful event. If you find the right keynote speaker, they will be able to ignite the passion within your audience and convey the message you want or need in a way that resonates. I've spoken at failing schools before, and because of the impact, I was able to turn the ship around. Having a keynote speaker who is an expert with years of experience is also pivotal for your event when it comes to Q&A and answering the questions that your audience may be dealing with.
Nowadays, it seems like we are in a climate where everyone wants to be a speaker. So, I wanted to outline the important roles of a keynote speaker to give your event the best chance of success:
1. Motivation and Inspiration:
When you look into the audience, you must find the common thread that bonds you, whether it's a common problem or a burning question. Once you find that, you can ignite and inspire that passion in the audience and motivate them to great lengths.
2. Real-Life Lessons:
A keynote speaker should be able to impart hard-earned lessons from personal experiences. Many times, we need to hear solutions from outside our own school. I’ve been able to build 5 successful schools, sending 100% of my students to a 4-year college. So when I speak at schools, I can offer valuable advice on teaching diverse learners and creating successful schools.
3. Role Models:
Choosing a strong role model that people can look up to is also important for a keynote speaker. The keynote speaker should be someone that your audience can respect and, if you're talking to students, someone they can aspire to be. I have done extensive programs, like the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, where I mentored young men. This allows your keynote speaker to relate and connect with your audience.
4. Impact on Student Success:
I’ve been fortunate enough to speak at events and witness the changes that have unfolded afterward. Young people message me all the time, referencing things I’ve said at keynote speeches from 10-15 years ago that have inspired them to open schools, become educators, or advocate for social justice change. That's the impact a keynote speaker should have on the audience.
I’m still working every day to become a better speaker, representing what I stand for and delivering my message. Remember to look for these attributes in your speaker: a motivator with real-life experiences who’s a role model that has a long-term impact on the audience they’re speaking to.
Share with me what you think makes a good keynote speaker, and some of the best speeches you've heard. Contact me to see if my services can be of use to your upcoming event.