SL009: Opening Keynote Speakers vs Closing Keynote Speakers

What’s the difference between an opening keynote speaker versus a closing keynote speaker? In todays episode, filmed in Abu Dhabi, I talk about how giving an opening keynote speech is different from giving a closing keynote speech.


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Hi there it’s James Taylor he a keynote speaker on creativity, innovation and artificial intelligence and the founder of SpeakersU. Today I’m in Abu Dhabi in beautiful United Arab Emirates, and I met the Jumeirah. The mirror towers hotel yesterday I gave the opening keynote speech at a conference there and a question I’m often asked is what’s difference between being an opening keynote speaker and a closing keynote speaker really this slightly different roles you have to fulfill and I I’m always happy to do to do either of those roles. Often I’m brought in as an opening keynote speaker, but sometimes I’ll be I’ll be coming in as the closing keynote speaker that you have to do slightly different things as a speaker, depending on which which one you’ve been brought in to do as an opening keynote speaker. I see the role there really is to set the mood and so they help going to really set the overall theme for the event itself obviously I’m coming in I’m talking about creativity I’m talking about change feature work artificial intelligence those those technological disruption.

So often that will be the theme of the event anyway. And so you coming in as the opening keynote speaker obviously started off high energy you want to have that you want to be inspiring. You want everyone to be excited about what they’re what they’re going to be going through, because whatever you’re talking about is often the seniors coming through multiple events throughout the course of the next few days, or even if it’s just a one day event. So the opening keynote speaker, I would say needs to be maybe a little bit sometimes bit more intense, entertaining, thought provoking, inspiring of new CEO of thought leaders coming into the opening keynote speaker, the closing keynote speaker is a slightly different role and no less valid actually and it’s I think some of my favorite speakers are closing keynote speakers because the closing keynote speaking you have another challenge sometimes as a closing keynote speaker the audience is mentally starting to think about having to leave the event they’ve had a great few days they’re thinking about the flight that have to casual what need to do in the office when they get back into the office.

So it’s a little bit more challenging to bring people back into the room mentally, sometimes as a closing keynote speaker, what I love doing as a closing keynote speakers, I love being there for the few days before my speech is closing, because it helps me understand the audience. I go into all the other sessions I’m listening to all the other sessions so when I do a closing keynote, what I’m doing is I obviously come in and give my my keynote itself but I’m I’m there to help put all these strands together from all these other sessions and help help everyone really make sense of what they’ve learned over the past few days while the experience together and also I would say the closing keynote speaker the energies that might sometimes have dropped because it’s towards the end of event so part of your role is to get that energy back into the room and you want to have people leave without saying wow, that was a great event. I think we covered all these different things and I found really inspired and now I want to go and start putting this stuff into work so sometimes with closing keynote speaker.

I’ll add slightly more actionable is next steps. So I’ll say something like, okay, so tomorrow morning, when you get back into the office, here are the three things I want you to do. Or here’s the one thing that you want to do in order to take some of these things that you’ve been learning over the past few days and start implementing them in your business on your organization. So you’re a little bit more actionable. So opening keynote speaker closing keynote speaker, if you’re if you’re a great speaker, you should be doing both. I don’t think there’s there’s one is better than the other. I think they just slightly different. My name is James Taylor, and I wish you great success in your speaking.

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