You’re in search of a speaker for your event.

You want to find the best keynote speaker to engage and empower your audience.

And you’re curious to know what makes a speaker great.

All so you can deliver a memorable, impactful event. You’re not alone. Event planners and conference organizers around the world want to know what makes a speaker great.

In this article, you will find 10 things that tie great speakers together. From motivational to leadership, inspirational, and impactful speeches, all great speakers share most of these traits.

What The Best Keynote Speakers Do

You’re probably aware that great speakers feel different while on stage.

The best speakers engage the audience. They hold the audience’s attention. And great speakers encourage action.

But how do you look for this when searching for a speaker for your own event?

Here are the 10 things to look for in speakers:

#1. They Provide Insights

If you look to any of the great marketing influencers on the internet, most of them preach content, content, content. Document what you’re doing from day-to-day. Share your world with the world.

While this can be an effective tactic for branding and “top-of-mind” marketing, it’s not the way of great speakers.

Speakers deliver content…

…but the best speakers offer insights the audience can take action on.

What does content vs. insights look like?

Firsthand experience. Applicable lessons. A step further than “do these 5 steps.”

The best speakers talk about the “in between” to inform and expand their audience.

Look for this insightful expansion the next time you’re looking for a speaker.

#2. They Are Practical

Do you know how to replace an entire engine in your vehicle? Most would shake their heads no. It’s a complex process that can take hours of time and thousands of dollars.

The best speakers take the complex and make it simple. They take the impossible and make it practical. A great speaker moves people from “I don’t know” to “I can do it.”

#3. They Own The Stage

You’ve probably listened to speeches where the speaker didn’t feel like they “owned” the stage, but what you probably didn’t know is that the speaker’s ownership of the stage (and their presence in front of the audience) directly affects the audience.

The audience judges the speaker through verbal and non-verbal communication. And this isn’t to say people are mean and crass. But it is a natural reaction for people to judge and determine if the person they’re watching is worth paying attention to.

A great speaker owns the stage, their presence on it, and offers the audience to join them in the experience.

#4. They Engage The Audience Differently

Many speakers these days use the “raise your hand if you’ve X” or “say yes if you agree with this statement.”

These techniques to involve the audience do work…

…but the best speakers engage their audiences differently.

Great speakers use the fill-in-the-blank method of engagement.

For example:

“72% of CEOs own which brand of car?”

Instead of a cause and effect tactic of question answer, the best speakers actually engage the audience with curiosity.

Continuing with the car example, many people will picture the brand they drive…

…and then hope they chose the proper car.

They’ll be curious to find out.

#5. They Talk Quickly

Did you know the human mind can hear and process language spoken somewhere near 500 words per minute?

Most people read 200 words per minute.

Great speakers talk quickly without making the audience feel rushed to keep up.

What’s interesting is the speakers who hold attention well speak somewhere between 250 and 350 words per minute. This helps prevent the audience from getting distracted.

Great speakers talk fast, keep attention, and empower their audience to take action.

#6. They Wield Stories & Powerful Data

Do you know the single most powerful speaking tool to making an impact on an audience?

If you said story, you would be correct.

Since the beginning of humanity, stories have been the anchor to our safety, evolution, success, and more.

Stories are compact, effective vessels of entertainment and information.

The best speakers use story and combine it with data and statistics to take an audience from “why should I care” to “I care enough to take action.”

Listen to potential speakers and see if they tell stories or not.

#7. They Share

The average speaker gets on stage to tell.

Great speakers get on stage to share.

You can identify great speakers by how they deliver their message. Those who talk at the crowd will deliver information with little to no context.

A great speaker will approach the audience as if it’s a conversation. They meet the audience where they are with the given topic and shares knowledge, experience, and stories.

It’s a subtle difference between a good and a great speaker. Once you notice it, however, you’ll never be able to unsee it.

#8. They Provide Joy

Imagine your childhood. Picture your favorite moments of joy and happiness. Now take that memory and compare it to similar moments as an adult.

Unfiltered joy as a child is more common than as an adult.

That’s why great speakers can get the audience to suspend their lives outside the presentation and engage wholly with the speaker.

Stories, again, help the speaker connect with the audience.

A great speaker respects this connection and creates joy in the audience.

The audience feels as though they got something out of listening. Their lives feel better for engaging with the speaker.

How do you measure this?

Ask people after a speech how they feel about the speaker, the presentation, and their own lives.

The feedback will tell you if the speaker was effective.

#9. They Spin Phrases

Cliches become cliches for a reason. These phrases and statements are nearly universal in application.

Great speakers will take cliches, common phrases, and overused statements and spin them in an interesting way to make the audience think about it.

For example:

A car dealership says they have the longest lasting vehicles on them market with the highest safety rating.

How a great speaker would spin this tagline?

We’re trying to put our dealership out of business because our customers don’t need to buy another car for a lifetime.

How curiuos is it that a dealership wants to go out of business for their customers? It gets you to lean in and ask “why.”

#10. They Change States

Your audience has been at a conference all day or weekend. Your attendees are probably feeling a little worn down. And they probably have information overload.

This is normal for attendees at events or conferences.

But a great speaker will change the state of the audience from where they are to excited, joyous, attentive, and more.

Whichever state the speaker needs their audience in to deliver the message, they will get their audience there.

Another way to think of this is “warming up the audience.” All of the great speakers meet their audience where they are mentally and emotionally, primes them to receive the speech, and then delivers.

The best speakers rarely dive directly into their speech without first getting a pulse on their audience.


At the end of the day, the best speakers make their time on stage about the audience. They focus on taking the audience from point A to point B with as little friction as possible. They work to inspire, motivate, and encourage action.

Here are the main takeaways from this article about what the best speakers do for you:

#1. They Provide Insights
#2. They Are Practical
#3. They Own The Stage
#4. They Engage The Audience Differently
#5. They Talk Quickly
#6. They Wield Stories & Powerful Data
#7. They Share
#8. They Provide Joy
#9. They Spin Phrases
#10. They Change States

If you’re looking for the best speakers for your event, view Platinum Speakers Agency roster of great speakers.

Our speakers can cover a multitude of topics and messages in their given lanes of expertise.

Ready to talk about booking a speaker? Contact Platinum Speakers Agency now.

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