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Writing a Keynote Message

Does writing a keynote message come easy to you ?  Most people labour for days trying to put together a message, not even sure where to begin.  If that’s true for you think of developing a speech rather than writing one. Sometimes I  ponder  ideas or points that I want to include in a message. Other times a complete message framework comes at one sitting, other times it evolves over a day or two. Either way ,I take time before, during or after writing down the rough draft to let ideas percolate in my mind and heart.  Whether it be for your signature speech or a keynote speech, here are some tips to help you get started on developing a message:


1. Take time to quiet yourself and meditate on the topic or overall message you want to leave with the audience. Ask yourself, “what do I want the audience to think/feel or do after hearing my message?” Quieting yourself may mean going to a coffee shop, sitting in nature, taking  a prayerful posture, or going for a walk. Writing your thoughts on a whiteboard or large wall size post-it note is a great way to brainstorm.

2. Say your thoughts and ideas out loud to yourself in a  conversational style and jot down those that resonate with you as being relevant for that audience and particular event. Summarize what you want the audience to take away by writing it in the form of a Foundational Phrase (FP) which is no more than 10 words in a sentence.  .

3. Write out the complete speech without editting, including all the ideas you want to include. (This is the messy part yet a necessary part of the creative process ). Only include those points and ideas that line up with the FP, which is what you want to leave with the audience.

4. Then start to create the structure that includes the points you want to keep in the order you want to deliver them. Using the PARTS formula is a valuable tool for this step. You can find out more about that and other ways to create a compelling structure and developing a FP in my REAL U™ Speaking Bootcamp Self-Study course.

The next time you need to create a new message  try these four steps and see if it helps to declutter your thoughts and give you greater clarity about what you want to say.


Keep letting the REAL  U…..Speak Through!


Lisa Vanderkwaak M.Sc.

Certified  World Class Speaking Coach

REAL U Institute™

“Equipping You to Communicate with Passion, Purpose & Transformational Impact”

To book Lisa to speak at your next group training or as a Keynote,  email









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