General Session Speaker – Keynote Speaker – Plenary Speaker

Corporate events can be as diverse in their purpose and structure as the keynote speakers who speak at those meetings.  Events can be international, national, regional or they can be internal meetings, external meetings, sales meetings, client conferences, user conferences, annual conferences or leadership retreats.

Once you have determined the purpose, theme and structure of your meeting you will have a better idea of your keynote speaker or general session speaker needs.  The following descriptions will help you define exactly how you utilize a speaker’s services:

Keynote Speaker  ( keynote  – the main idea or theme).

In public speaking the word keynote refers to the principal underlying theme of a larger idea hence the topic that a keynote speaker addresses usually relates to the reason or purpose behind a meeting.

The keynote address or keynote speech:

An opening keynote speaker is bought in to set the underlying tone and summarize the core message or most important revelation of the event.

A closing keynote speaker will be engaged to end a conference on a high note.

If an event is held over a longer period of time, it is not unusual to have a different keynote speaker for each day of the event. .
Often referred to as “featured keynote speaker”

Another way to utilize the services of a keynote speaker is to have him or her open the meeting with a short presentation in which they address the theme of your event and then give a closing keynote speech to end your meeting on a high-note. You could also have the keynote speaker emcee your entire event. Anyone who is skilled enough to command the main platform or keynote stage often has the charisma or presence that can add a whole other dimension to your event.

General Session Speaker

A well chosen general session speaker can contribute a lot to a successful meeting and help to make it dynamic, productive, informative and memorable. Adding good quality audio, video, lighting, special effects, custom stage sets and theatrical scenery can also help to create an environment of energy and excitement. Organize general sessions where the attendees can actively learn and take away new skills they can apply in their organizations and in their lives.

Plenary Speaker

When a speaker is referred to as a plenary speaker that person is often from within an organization, the same industry or a related industry.  As opposed to a professional speaker or independent expert on a particular subject who is bought in to be a marquee keynote speaker.

Mini Plenary Sessions

These are often concurrent sessions that focus on issues important to an industry sector or a particular aspect of a practice applicable to all industries. Mini-plenary sessions are usually open to all registrants.

Breakout Session Speaker

Typically a breakout session speaker is not on the main platform.  A breakout session is a more focused session that is from one hour to 2 ½ hours in length.  Often breakout sessions are offered simultaneously in different meeting rooms and attendees decide which sessions that wish to attend.  A main stage keynote speaker is sometimes asked to give a breakout session that immediately follows the keynote address.   This provides an opportunity for attendees to participate, interact and learn more – they do not get this opportunity when they sit and listen to a keynote address.
© 2022 Yvon Douran

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *