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A keynote ( English for " basic thought ", " principle "; also " keynote address ", " keynote speech ") describes an outstandingly presented lecture by a mostly prominent speaker or professional keynote speaker . The term keynote is derived from the tuning tone of a cappella listening: the choir sings a note together before each performance so that the individual singers can tune into the piece and each other. Accordingly, the keynote speaker gets his audience in the mood for the core message.

A German-language term is plenary lecture (lecture in front of all participants in the plenary session of a conference). Today the English-language term is usually preferred and several keynotes can be held in parallel at large congresses.

The keynotes anticipate the most important topics of the conference or trade fair . If the conference offers something striking in the media, this will be introduced and presented in the keynotes.


The keynote is often the opening speech of a conference or discussion , but at conferences , symposia and other occasions, several keynote speakers can present one or more, mostly related, topics.

Keynotes are not necessarily always scheduled at the beginning of an event, but can also take place in the middle, as a transitional motivation or at the end, as a final inspiration.

Most keynote speakers are practitioners from sales, marketing or management or celebrities (e.g. athletes or politicians). Many keynote speakers were or are also management consultants, trainers or coaches .

See also

  • Headliner - most famous artist at a music festival

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Dall: The rhetorical powerhouse . Linde Verlag, Vienna 2012, ISBN 0-07-069615-2 .