Although used interchangeably in most meetings and conventions, a keynote speaker performs tasks different from motivational speakers. The elements that create this contrast can be found in the nature of the responsibilities each kind of speaker carries. These two people hold different tasks and approaches to doing their job. Any keynote speaker can be enlisted as a motivational speaker; but not every motivational speaker can function as a keynote speakers.
Depending on the purpose of the meeting or gathering, one may need to decide carefully whether or not they need a motivational speaker. Despite this, a keynote speaker is an integral part of these gatherings and one is certainly a requirement.
To answer the question of responsibilities, the main task of the keynote speaker is to saturate the audience in the central message of the event or meeting. This central message may not necessarily be a motivational message. Given that businesses and companies could hold meetings or symposiums of almost any kind of nature, a keynote speaker may be chosen to deliver messages on almost any kind of issue at hand. These issues and topics may be more informative than motivational. These messages might be meant to disseminate information and not necessarily a call to action.
In contrast, a motivational speaker has a more direct and consistent goal in whatever setting that requires such a speaker. If the keynote speakers has to follow and embody the message of the meeting or symposium, the motivational speaker can only function in a meeting that tackles the topic of motivation. The sole goal of the motivational speaker is to get the audience to take positive action towards self-improvement. The business model of this kind of speaker rotates around addressing audiences on the topic of improving their lives.
In short, the topics and messages that the keynote speakers tackles vary from meeting to meeting. A motivational speaker always sticks to the motivational niche.
An additional element of difference between the two speakers is the kind of research that they conduct. Motivational speakers focus on drawing on stories and pieces of information that further their knowledge in terms of achieving success. The keynote speaker derives success from being capable to address a multitude of topics and subjects. Keynote speakers are known to be knowledgeable in almost any field of interest. This characteristic is crucial to the image of one in such a profession. A particular notion or discipline speakers possess is the awareness of the importance of form and substance. It is the substance that differentiates a motivational speaker from a keynote speaker.
With this note, motivational speakers can function as keynote speakers in a meeting that aims to inspire the audience. On the other hand, motivational speakers may not be the best choice of keynote speaker for a symposium that talks about stock market strategies or scientific developments because these areas are not under their specialization.
Despite these differences, plenty speakers who make a living through performing as keynote speakers also market themselves as motivational speakers because of the success they have achieved. This practice has been developed by many famous personalities in the industry. Speakers like Zig Ziglar and John Maxwell, who are mostly known for their motivational speaking presentations, started out as businessmen. These men have performed both the roles of motivational and keynote speakers on many occasions which could be one of the reasons why the two types of speakers are interchanged and misused.
Regardless of the confusion, it is still important to review and discern the main goal and the message of a particular meeting or symposium before selecting a keynote speaker. This allows organizers to select and enlist the services of the proper and most qualified and equipped individuals to ensure that the meeting message is delivered clearly and is understood by the audience.