A few friends have asked me recently how I prepare for keynotes:

⏲️ 1 hour prep for every min presenting (30 min talk = 30 hrs to build / prep)

🎙️ Rehearse LOTS

📈 Use Nancy Duarte’s format to draw the emotional shape of keynote

🖊️ Write script long hand

🖥️ NEVER use PPT presenter view


I am hugely inspired by a bunch of people:

  • David JP Philips – Taught me how to deliver emotional stories with his Science of Storytelling
  • Simon Sinek – One of the best presenters I’ve ever worked with who never uses .PPT
  • Tony Robbins – I watched him give an incredible 4 hour keynote where he had EVERYONE’S attention
  • Also Zig Ziglar, John C Maxwell, Chris Anderson, Seth Godin, Carmine Gallo….


I read one book every week and study a LOT of speeches. I follow a lot of advice from presidential speechwriters like Ted Sorensen, Jon Favreau and Peggy Noonan. I love understanding what motivates people to speak, their style and delivery and seeing what audiences respond to (and what they don’t).


Most importantly for me though, is that studying all this stuff never feels like work – if it did I wouldn’t enjoy the vast amount of preparation required and I certainly wouldn’t be much good on stage.  If you’re going to prep for 30-50 hours to give a 30 minute keynote, you need to love what you do.




Communications Designer @IBM • Climate Reality Leader • Lover of Old Business Books, Clever Technology and the NHS • Based in London, UK.

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