How to deliver a keynote and have the talk live rent free in audience’s mind.

Cheeky photographer caught me in the act. I look like I’m praying. I could be. I’m about to present a keynote to one of London’s most dynamic entrepreneurs (now, The Company of Entrepreneurs) in the heart of London.

So wee nerves? Yes! But I’m doing that zone thing.

I’m recalling this from attending an entrepreneur conference this week where the line up of speakers were masters of their craft. And an observable characteristic that made them memorable.

Before that, some context. It’s summer. Couple of years back Lee Robertson Chartered FCSI FRSA then Masters of the then Guild of Entrepreneurs asked if I’d deliver the keynote for their Summer Banquet. I was naturally honoured.

Lee had become a mentor (now good friend) of a digital storytelling course I ran. And courtesy of Nicola (then Head of Outreach) and together with Mentors/ Entrepreneurs: Stephen, Simon, Judy (current Master), Rachel ( Chocolate Films), we’d do something few were doing.

To the banquet I’m going to commit this 15 min keynote to memory, using the memory palace technique. But I’m aware there’s something I should do, and to pull it off requires, well, some timing and some luck.

If you attended the UK Black Business Entrepreneurs conference 2022 conference, ask yourself which bits of the talks you most remember. That’s not to say they all were not engaging. I loved them all and Henry Bonsu hosting. This is about a specific point of memorisation.

The answer may well be the sections where you’re made to laugh and some. I was giving a keynote to the BFI for teachers,. At the beginning I gave the audience random facts about me, each one peppered with humour, often self deprecating. I then went into my talk about how to get audiences to interpret news. Half an hour into my talk. I stopped and asked if anyone could recall the facts I said at the beginning. They all did. See here.

Two things: one I’m presenting myself as a character. two, humour and other emotions e.g. liking a character, will create chemical flows in the audience. Dopamine hits, reduced stress hormone (cortisol) which affects the short term memory bank the hippocampus. This facilitates new memory nerve connections aiding long term memory. Good film directors and obviously stand up comedians know this.

Lord Hastings talk captured moments of a 17-year-old millionaire from TikTok, a new six legged creature that lives and mates on eyelashes, and then the emotion of Kipling’s If. Wilfred could have been at the Apollo working the audience. Masterful. Great timing. Bebe pointed to her the gorgeous man (her husband) in the audience and blew him a kiss. Clare talking about being two different people to get her gig was shock and awe(emotion) stuff. Dr Carlton speaking about his mum and the audience participation of a black person trying to get finance.

These create landing spots for stories to be absorbed. Great storytelling is craft skills and when seen on display is a joy to behold. Below is a popular example.

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Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah

Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah

3.9K Followers

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.