What Goes In To Creating A Brilliant Bespoke Keynote?

Clare Josa, Research & Training Director

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"But it's just an hour of your time!" There's so much more than just the presenting-live hour that goes into creating a brilliant bespoke keynote talk. And the amount of work might surprise you. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes a team to create a keynote! So here's some insight into what's going on behind the scenes, to make that inspirational hour happen.

Some speakers have the same talk that they use for every client. It's why they can run five sessions a week. Same slides. Same stories. Same jokes. Apart from a 'discovery call' and email admin setting up the event, the cost to them to deliver the session is pretty low.

But what you're getting is a one-size-fits-all session that they know so well it might as well be pre-recorded.

On the other hand, you can have a keynote talk or workshop that is designed just for your teams and your business. This might include data and quotes from your team members, insights into how the keynote topic is affecting your specific organisation, with stories, examples, and strategies tailored to your needs and culture.

That's the kind of talk I love to do. And I won't do the cookie-cutter types.

But what's involved? And how much more than the 'presenting-live' hour does this take to create and deliver? Here are some insights into what goes into to creating that bespoke keynote for you.

It All Starts With Booking A Call

I'm often asked via email to quote for a 'standard one-hour keynote', but I can't.


Because the budget for a bespoke session depends on five key factors (you can read about them here).

But I know that potential clients will have a 'find a speaker' item they're super-keen to tick off on their to do list and I want to give them that dopamine hit!

Even before our first meeting, there's work happening in the background to make sure we can fully support your event, to co-create something brilliant.

And if we can't, we'll let you know, so we're not wasting your time.

So the first step is booking a briefing call. That will either be with me, for conference keynotes and 'destination' events, or with our Client Relationship Manager, for workshops and smaller sessions.

As part of booking that meeting, you fill in a short form to give us information about your event, so we can check before the call whether there are any of the common red flags that might mean it's not a great fit (we'll let you know, with love), or if we need more information. 

The Client Relationship Manager and I will discuss whether we have space in the schedule for your chosen date, and whether it's the kind of opportunity that excites us - there are some gigs we'll always turn down. And at this point, we'll also hold your date, until two weeks after we send you your proposal. You get onto our VIP list.

So even before your first meeting, there has been behind-the-scenes work going on, to make sure we're all-in and able to support you in co-creating a brilliant event.

Creating Your Proposal

After the initial meeting, if we both agree that working together would be fun and a great fit, then we'll create a proposal for you.

This is something you can wave under the bean-counter's nose to get budget approval, and it also helps you to get fellow decision-makers on board. A chunk of work goes into that proposal, including:

Understanding the problem you want to fix

We want to make sure that we're being super-fair - sometimes a keynote isn't the best investment to address the challenges your organisation and team members are facing. So we want to make sure that we can truly help. We'll be honest with you if we think that different solutions might work better for you.

Making clear recommendations

Then, if a keynote is the way to go, we'll make clear recommendations on the outline of the content to cover, the additional implementation resources that will support your team members,  and the format of the session, including Q&A and panel discussion options, to have the most impact for you.

Putting together pricing options

We know that speaker budgets can be an awkward topic, which is why we're transparent about my fees. You'll have already had my speaker brochure, before our call, which shares my fee ranges, and we'll have had that discussion in more detail in our initial meeting, so there won't be any surprises. Even so, sometimes we're asked to put together a range of options, and we'll put time into creating those so that they will all add value, and so that the differences between them are clear.

We hold your place in my queue for two weeks

I'm normally booked up 3-4 months ahead, but we know you need time - and certainty - to make a decision.

So we hold your place in my queue for two weeks.

Once we have the purchase order, your place is confirmed.

If we don't have it after that point - and it's not looking imminent - then we have to release your slot to the waiting list.

What Happens After We Get The Purchase Order?

We'll help you with marketing copy and any links you need.

Then you can relax, knowing it's all in-hand, while we:

What My Team Does Next!

Once we've got the purchase order number and the initial invoice instalment has been approved for payment, work begins in earnest. That's when I deep-dive into the final design of your session, and my team members play vital roles, too.

designing the scorecard

To help us tailor the session to your teams' needs, we'll ask them to complete a science-backed, quiz-style scorecard. This gives them their 'score' for the topic we're covering.

They also get to ask me a question in the scorecard, and I use these to decide what content we should be covering. They're gold dust! 

building the buzz

You don't want to put all of that investment into a bespoke keynote, only to have five people show up.

So we help build the buzz with the scorecard, which also gives people a personalised action plan, getting the conversation started even before the event, and it's also proven to increase join-live rates.

analysing the scorecards

As a reformed engineer and Head of Market Research for one of the world's most disruptive brands, I know it's important for a keynote on, say, Imposter Syndrome to be grounded in data, not fluff.

So I'll build the results from your teams' scorecards into the keynote, making it really relatable.

creating the live session

There's more to a brilliant keynote that reciting 300 bullet points from slides.

At this point, I'll be choosing the stories that will pre-teach the key points we'll be covering, which audience participation will help to create 'lightbulb moments', and how to make this even high-impact and empowering, whether it's virtual, in-person or hybrid.

And I'll be practising it!

designing High-impact slides

No one wants to sit through yet another #DeathByPowerpoint presentation. Ever.

The slides I use in my keynotes are specially designed to help people to learn what we're covering and create change, even before they finish the session, at a conscious and subconscious level, using accelerated learning techniques, and designed to accommodate differing learning styles. 

implementation Vault

There's a world of difference between information and implementation. And information doesn't create change.

So my bespoke keynotes come with a post-event resource vault, where we host the replay and share other resources that I mention during my talk, increasing the actions that people take after the event.

We make sure you're kept in the loop

Your Client Relationship Manager will be your main point of contact for any questions you might have.

Then, a couple of weeks before the event, once we've got the initial scorecard data, we'll have a final briefing meeting with you, via Teams or Zoom.

This is to make sure nothing has changed in the brief (you might be surprised how often it does!) and to get your approval if I'm recommending a shift on some content suggestions, based on your data.

If it's a virtual event, this is also when we'll have a short tech check meeting and agree exactly how things will run on the day, so you can relax and trust that it's going to be great!

on the big day!

We'll have a great session, which your team members will love, inspiring them to move beyond information, into implementing the changes you've been hoping for.

After The Event

Your Implementation Vault

People can register to access this even during the live session. Your replay will be in there one working day after the event.

Your Summary Research Report

About a week after the event, you'll get a summary report from the scorecard research with your teams, letting you know the most important findings and recommended next steps.

Strategy Meeting With Clare Josa

Pick my brain on your research report and get answers to your next steps questions in this strategy meeting. You can invite all of the relevant decision-makers to this call.

There's so much more that goes into a bespoke keynote than just the hour of presenting.

Ready to find out more and potentially book a call about working together to co-create an inspirational session for your teams?

Clare Josa - as interviewed by:

Clare In Numbers

8 Books

helping over 100,000 people change their life

20 Years

as an international keynote speaker


podcast listeners in over 100 countries

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About the Author

Clare Josa, Research & Training Director

Clare is considered a global authority in the fields of Imposter Syndrome, burnout and toxic resilience, and has been an international keynote speaker for over 20 years.

The author of 8 books, a reformed engineer and the former Head of Market Research for one of the world's most disruptive brands, she blends research-backed practical inspiration with demystified ancient wisdom, to help you create breakthroughs in ways that are fast, fun and forever.

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