Keynote speaker & motivational speaker – Keynote presentations and speaking programs delivered with heart

I’m Eleni Kelakos, keynote speaker, presentation and public speaking speaker, author, trainer, female motivational speaker, and leadership coach. I speak at conferences, associations, and organizations across the country. Audiences love my intriguing stories, actionable content, and sometimes my original songs (yes, I’m a musician too).

Some of my original keynote speech examples include:

Are you wondering, “Just what is a keynote speaker?”

That’s a good question. I’ll answer it with a short story…

Do you have a favorite local coffee joint? I do. It’s where I do my best brainstorming. Most days when I’m there, a sweet, little lady who lives nearby walks in with a teacup Pomeranian in her arms and orders a latte to go. Since we live in Michigan, the lady and I always say things to each other like “Will it ever stop snowing?” and “When are we moving to Florida?!?!?!”

Recently as I was sitting at a table caffeinating myself and banging away at my laptop, my dog-carrying acquaintance approached my table and asked, “So what are you working on today?” I replied, “A big keynote speech I’m giving at a conference.”  She paused, waggled her eyebrows and said, “”What,exactly, is a keynote speech?”

I actually get this question a lot. Most people have a general understanding of what I mean when I say I’m a presentation skills trainer or executive coach.  But when I say “keynote speaker,” it can throw them.

So, here’s what I explained to my latte-loving friend (and her little dog, too):

“As a keynote speaker my job is to set the tone for big events at company retreats, industry association meetings, and women’s leadership forums.”

I’m like a tour guide, taking the audience with me on a journey to the heart of a big, compelling issue that is near and dear to their work and world. My mission is to move my audience from one mindset to another.

A keynote speaker often kicks off (or closes) an event with a bang, cementing the audience to the event’s theme. The best keynote speeches not only provide useful, doable content, they come alive with great stories that move people’s hearts and minds.

How is a keynote speech different than any other old presentation?

People also ask me, “What’s the difference between a keynote speaker vs a guest speaker, business speaker, motivational speaker, or industry expert who speaks on a topic.” My reply is that while a keynote speaker can be all of those things (and they often are a business or industry expert who is motivational), the difference is this –

The intention of most presentations is to educate and inform (like my presentation skills group trainings for example). However, the intention of a keynote speech is to rivet the audience, entertain them, help them realize their shared emotions and experiences, and motivate them to change.

As a result, your choice in a keynote speaker can make or break your conference.

If you’re looking for keynote speaker ideas, exploring examples of the best keynote speeches, or searching a list offered by a speakers bureau, look for a keynote speaker who offers samples of her or his keynote presentations. The best keynote speeches engage and motivate with good storytelling and enlivened performances.

Oh, and here's a good story from one of my keynotes - about how I royally messed the words to the National Anthem at Shea Stadium. Indeed, a forgot the words just like the great, Robert Goulet.

Need a keynote speaker for a major conference or meeting? Eleni Kelakos is rivetingly real, funny, and compelling. Book Eleni now!

Working with Eleni Kelakos was an amazing experience. I can’t imagine a coach and trainer who’s more creative and caring; direct yet delicate; funny but firm, respectful yet not afraid to say what really needs to be said. There’s no question that our commencement speech—to 50,000 people at Michigan Stadium—was significantly stronger because of Eleni’s insight, encouragement and (always constructive) suggestions. I feel completely confident saying that any client that engages her services will significantly improve the quality of any presentation they’re going to give! If you want to turn insecurity and uncertainty into excellence, call—and listen to—this kind and talented woman!

Ari Weinzweig CEO, Zingerman’s July 19, 2016