As events go virtual, what are compelling formats and styles for virtual keynotes?


Until just a few months ago almost all conferences brought many people together into large venues, with captivating keynote speakers as drawcards and to set the tone of the event.

Now almost all events are virtual, creating a very different dynamic for both audiences and speakers.

Challenges of virtual events

If you are attending a virtual event, essentially you are sitting in front of a computer or device, with legion opportunities for distraction, rather than the enforced attention of sitting among many others facing a stage.

On the other side, professional speakers are performers, and many I know have said they find it very hard to project the same energy in front of a camera as they can in front of a large audience.

Powerful visual presentations

Given that the role of keynote speaker will still often remain, for both incisive content and inspiration, striking visual presentations that emulate TV or other powerful visual media can be helpful.

Below is an excerpt from my recent keynote at International News Media Association’s Virtual World Congress, demonstrating my current style of visual presentations using full screen video to support my messages.

Creating new virtual keynote styles

While the standards of visual presentations in general have increased substantially over the last years, they still need to improve, and in particular be adapted to the constraints and opportunities of virtual formats.

There is massive scope for creativity and invention in generating new visual and other presentation styles for virtual events, which we are just beginning to uncover.

Beyond the visual styles are the exciting opportunities for interaction and engagement, which I will touch on in an upcoming post.