a musical keynote example
There are several great reasons to choose a musical keynote when you’re planning a conference. Musical keynotes are entertaining. They bring energy and positive emotion to a conference. A musical presentation also makes a great statement – that this won’t be the same old boring conference. Additionally, a successful musical speaker will bring value through a relevant message and takeaways.

Here is a real-world example of why this is the case:

A few years back I appeared as a keynote speaker at an aerospace company’s annual meeting. This was the first time they’d ever hired a speaker who wasn’t in their industry. While I certainly wasn’t able to talk about technical matters related to this company’s work, I was able to provide content that motivated and excited everyone in the room. It was a fun experience and got people stoked about being there. This was a disruptive presentation in that it was out of the box and allowed people to explore different ways of thinking.

But in addition to thinking differently, a musical keynote will get people feeling and this is really important. A creative keynote that gets people to tap into their emotions can be a catalyst for success to follow.

Every Conference Needs A Creative Keynote

I recently ran into an a friend on a flight. We were both headed down to Austin, TX. I was  going for a speaking gig and my friend was attending a sales conference. She joked that she’d get to catch up on sleep during the conference because the sessions were usually so boring. This is all too typical.

Yes, I acknowledge that if you’re planning a conference you do have to deliver specific content for your attendees. But boring content isn’t effectively delivered. When people are bored they tune out and they probably won’t remember too much about that valuable content you need to share.

Make sure to think about how you’re delivering content during your meeting. The medium is as important as the message and when both content and delivery align the result is powerful.

Here are a couple of ideas for types of speakers who will wake up and shake up your conference.

  • Songs and laughter – My two favorite things are music and laughter. There are a few good speakers out there who combine these two favorite things into great keynote presentations. A mash up of concert, comedy and relevant themes for your conference, these speakers will entertain and enlighten at the same time. Guitarist and comedian Mike Rayburn does a great job and Mark Eddie is also worth checking out.
  • Songs and story – Okay I lied above. Before those two favorite things, my first favorite thing is songwriting as a musical keynote.  These presentations are highly interactive. You’ll be entertained but you’ll also be part of the entertainment. Attendees (participants) collaborate to create a song about their shared experience. These types of presentations are a mash up of concert, group performance and relevant themes for your conference. Disclaimer: I’m partial to this type of presentation because it’s what I do!

Relevance Of A Musical Keynote

So what makes the programs I’ve described above real keynotes, rather than just entertainment? Relevant content. A successful speaker will tie the music in with a message that relates to your company and your conference goals.

For example, to acknowledge good performance in a past year the presenter might perform, “Taking Care Of Business” (BTO). To acknowledge past or ongoing struggles and unveil a plan for improvement the presenter might perform, “Better All The Time” (Beatles).

But it isn’t enough to weave in relevant songs. A successful speaker will weave in specific themes about your organization and he or she will also have their own area of focus in which they’re experts. For example, musical presenters are highly qualified to speak about collaboration and innovation.

  • Collaboration – Being part of a successful band means you know how to collaborate. Long hours on the road, writing songs together and the intense highs and lows of performing create dynamic collaborative experience for musicians. When it works well it’s the best team work there is. When it falls apart it’s really hard. With that good and bad comes insight into what makes for good team work. This experience makes for compelling speaking presentations that combine juicy stories about life in a band with deep insight into collaboration.
  • Innovation – You want to be an innovative organization. In fact, you need to be innovative to survive and thrive. Musicians live innovation; so much so that it doesn’t seem like an attribute to struggle for, it’s just part of their life view. In order to be innovative you have to change something. In order to change you have to come up with new ideas. To come up with ideas you have to be creative. A speaker who’s also a great musical performer can demystify the creative process and offer your attendees actionable ways to become more innovative.

Creativity Brings ROI

How do you justify bringing in a musical keynote speaker, rather than your typical subject matter expert? I realize you may have to pitch this idea to your key stakeholders and even if you see the value, they may be skeptical.

There’s real value, ROI in fact, when you bring in a creative speaker. Innovative organizations know that making time for play, for experimentation and for creativity yields real returns. Innovative organizations allow their workforce to engage in creative activity without always determining what the ROI will be before they begin. Allowing this time means allowing for a different type of ROI and that’s something I call ROInspiration®. 

If you set aside part of your conference agenda for musical or creative experience you can model the concept of ROInspiration®. Instead of just talking to your workforce about creating an innovative mindset you can bring that mindset and environment to them so they experience the power of creativity.

Bringing in a musical keynote says you’re serious about engagement and innovation. It also says you value your attendees enough to show them a good time by not boring them into a good nap.

About Billy Kirsch

Billy is a Grammy & Emmy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter with numerous Top 10 hits to his credit. His team building programs and keynote speaking presentations help people tap into their creative abilities to become more innovative and engaged in their work. Clients include Fortune 100 companies and organizations throughout the world.