Keynote speakers are not generally categorized by type, but do tend to fall into one of several major categories. The choice of speaker depends on the objective one is trying to achieve with the presentation. Some common keynote speaker types include: motivational, expert, and humorous. Though a professional keynote speaker will often choose to inject some humor into a speech, the entire speech will likely not all be humorous, unless the speaker falls into the last category.
Keynote speakers, as the name would suggest, are very important to the setting in which they are speaking. The designation of keynote speaker often means there are others that are speaking before them. Still, the last spot on the speaking schedule, often reserved for the keynote speaker, is thought to be the best and the one everyone is there to hear. Oftentimes, a political convention keynote speaker may get upstaged by a previous speaker.
Motivational keynote speakers are those who use different psychological methods to relate to their audience, and then explain what they need to do and why they need to do it. This type of speaker never speaks down to his or her audience, but rather guides them to a conclusion using the forces of persuasion and personal experience. A motivational keynote speaker is very popular at business conventions and organizations where getting the members rallied and excited about what they do is a key to success.
Expert keynote speakers are those that have specific knowledge in their field, beyond that of most of their colleagues. Due to the fact these speakers often speak to other knowledgeable people in their chosen field, they must truly know what they are talking about. These speakers, because they are somewhat rare, are in high demand and may demand a high speaking fee. These keynote speakers are most commonly seen a business workshops, business conventions, academic conferences, and training seminars.
Humorous keynote speakers may use a hybrid approach, and also appear as motivational speakers. Very few keynote speakers will strictly use humor just for humor's sake. It is rare for any convention or organization, which is trying to get more out of a speaking engagement than simple entertainment, would be willing to hire a speaker simply for such purposes. Therefore, humorous speakers often must find a larger purpose to serve in their speech making.
A professional keynote speaker could demand thousands of dollars, even for a speech that lasts shorter than an hour. Sometimes, it may be possible to get a keynote speaker for free. In such cases, it is still customary to pay for the speaker's travel expenses, and any meals that may be eaten while at the speaking location.