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In the nebulous professional public speaking environment of the country, what is lost in the din is the importance and practice of the keynote addresses. If you try remembering the last hundred keynotes you had the privilege to listen, it would be difficult to remember even a few being distinct being keynote addresses. Keynote is distinct by being the main address of the professional conference putting the theme in the right perspective, making participants and the conference gel by understanding the backend of nature and structure.

The keynote would also project what the conference intends to deliver and relevance of the theme in both professional and public domain. The keynote is delivered by professional public speakers of that particular field. Sometimes, it is titled as Plenary session and is independent of all other sessions of the conference. This is in addition to the generic keynote at the inaugural, opening address or the Chief Guest’s address.

In India public domain conferences specialising in lots of emerging and topical themes are struggling in getting their formats right. Not playing in the copybook style and having a huge element of commercialisation incorporated, keynote is given a go by. Either the Chief Guest reads a transcript or delivers a very generic speech or there are numerous keynotes might be for each session, matching with the commercial dynamics of the conference. Both the formats don’t do any justice to the cause of the conference.

The fumbling nature of professional topic handling of the conferences in India is one reality, the other equally worrisome is the lack to speakers who can fit into the shoes of global keynote makers. Steve Jobs has been a legendary one, each of his keynotes being legends in themselves. With even an iota of aura, charisma, content, flamboyance and magical delivery missing in the Indian market, keynotes becoming a killer component of any conference is still a far cry.


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