How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.

How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.

How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.

How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.

How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.

How to prepare a great conference keynote presentation

June 16, 2024

/

5 min read

Some weeks ago our founder Damon spoke at Present to Succeed conference in Bulgaria. His talk was received very well by the audience. These are his airplane notes on how to nail your next keynote talk.



Smile moments

After my talk the other day, many people came up to me and asked things like "How do you prepare for your talk?", "How do you write your script?", "How do you make your delivery so effortless?" Most were surprised to know that this was only my second keynote talk on a big stage.

Here's my simple secret: I strategically place "smile moments" throughout my talk. These are moments where I am almost 100% sure that I will make the audience feel something (usually a good / positive feeling). But you can go for any feeling you want, depending on the event setting, the audience, etc.



When I am writing my script / preparing my slides, I often zoom out on the script and make sure these "smile moments" are spread evenly throughout the talk. If there are big gaps between them, I simply move things around and rewrite if needed, to make it work. These moments are crucial for a good talk. Because it is when you re-grab the audiences' attention, you wake them up, you remind them why they came to see you.

So, what exactly are these "smile moments"? They can be anything really. Jokes, good visuals, nice animations, videos, impactful quotes, audience interaction. You name it. But they should have that little extra punch to get the audience to react.

Here are some examples from my talk:

Audience interaction

Interacting with your audience is a great way to wake them up and grab their attention. I had several sections in my talk where I asked the audience to raise their hands and interact with me. In most of those interactions, I had prepared a fun statement or comment in case I would see a good opportunity for it. E.g. I asked the audience "do we have any sales or marketing people here?", knowing that plenty would raise their hands, and followed that up with "…wow you go to all events don't you?" which got some giggles.

I also knew that we would have a big group of Lufthansa attendees. So I had prepared a story regarding holes in the airplane windows where I could interact and have some fun with them if they would play along. Thankfully they did and it turned out as a fun audience interaction. A true smile moment.

In one of the slides I had an image of a Porsche car, talking about the importance of good design. They day before the event, during the rehearsals, I found out that Porsche cars are a big deal in Bulgaria. People seem to like them. This turned out to be another smile moment. Because when I pulled up the Porsche slide, people in the front row went "oooohhhh…" with excitement, and I followed that up with "yeah.. I know you like Porsches here", which got some laughs.

Small moments. But combined they leave an impression with the audience. They will remember how you made them feel.



Great visuals

Visuals are a great way to add smile moments to your presentations. Strong visuals. Funny images. Bold statements. Whatever it is, use your slides wisely to get a reaction from your audience.

Throughout my talk I used funny GIFs (related to the message obviously), bold statements and one-liners, quotes, and great visuals generated with Midjourney. Like this image below of a baby with VR goggles. You can't find these images on stock photo sites. Using AI to generate these visuals can help bring your presentation to another level, and add these special moments for audience reactions. (ignore the fact that it looks like the baby's body is going through the bed)



Script vs slide-creation process

The process of writing your script and creating your slides is very individual, and you should do what works best for you. Personally, my talks tend to be very slide-oriented. I tend to keep a high "slide-pace" (changing slides often), and use all resources available (statements, quotes, images, videos, gifs) to add impact behind my talking points.

So my script writing process might be different from yours. But I tend to write down all my ideas in a Google Doc. What do I want to share? What topics do I want to cover? To get an overview of the outline. Once I have that, I try to find a smart structure for how to present it. If you can make it memorable for the audience, this is ideal.

E.g. last year I gave a talk at Present to Succeed 2023, and I came up with a playful acronym called "SECSI". This was used as my agenda throughout the talk, and it worked out very well. Even on this years event I had people coming up to me remembering this simple acronym. If you can't come up with something like this, use a simple 3-4 point agenda with a logical structure.

Once I have my preliminary structure / outline, I start exploring ideas and material for my slides. These are usually dropped into the same Google Doc, or I will transfer my script into a PowerPoint and combine it with resources, ideas, visuals, videos - anything that can help me communicate my talking points. At this stage, everything is a mess. It is a brain dump basically. You want to simply get an overview of the content and how this could be presented. This will help you later during the cut down process (= when you realize that your talk is 20 minutes longer than the agreed time slot and need to brutally cut it down).

This is the basic process. And from here it is really just about fine-tuning your content, and nailing the visuals and key points you want to communicate.

Takeaway

Keynotes should usually be equally informative as entertaining. Finding that balance is an art that can only be learned through experimentation. Study your audience before your talk. Know their intentions. Why did they come to the event? What do they want out of it? Answering these questions will help you find the balance between information vs entertainment.

With that said, try adding more "smile moments" throughout your talk. It is really powerful.