by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
In the speaking world, the media stars are the keynote speakers. A lot of seminar leaders and trainers ask me how they can adapt their material to this intense, high-profile, and often lucrative specialty.
“The keynote speech comes from the discipline of show business. The seminar comes from the discipline of teaching.”
—Bill Gove, First President of the National Speakers Association
“With a keynote speech, the presenter is the star. With seminars, the leader needs to make the audience members the star.”
—Don Thoren, Past President National Speakers Association and Long-time Seminar Leader
To understand the big difference between keynotes and seminars, start by appreciating the unique characteristics of each. “Conversations occur in both keynotes and seminars,” explains Fripp Associate, Dr. David Palmer, Silicon Valley management guru, seminar leader on negotiations, and professor in the MBA program at Santa Clara University. “In a seminar, attendees learn more when you get them to do most of the talking. Your role is to set up the situations and guide them, letting them teach each other. But with a keynote speech you are presenting a conversation between you and each member of the audience. They are talking back to you in their own heads. During your speech, ask questions, then pause while the audience members think about what you have said.”