The link between ancient speakers and modern keynote speakers

Keynote speaker – when hearing this word, the first that comes to mind is future trends, technology, Silicon Valley. However, keynote speaker is not a profession that has only been invented recently: As is generally known, the art of rhetoric has its roots in the ancient world. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans already had their „celebrity speakers” such as Homer, Socrates and Aristoteles. 

With „Deoratore“, Cicero for instance published a fundamental work on the essence ofthe speaker’s profession in the year 55 B.C. already. His statements on thefine art of oratory even had an impact on the contemporary use of the Latinlanguage. Furthermore, Cicero was held in high regard for his ability topresent complicated questions and problems in a clear manner and to offerseveral specific approaches to solving them.

And the qualities that distinguish good speakers such as marketing and networking expert Hermann Scherer, have virtually stayed the same: just as today’s keynote speakers, they were people who were able to inspire and convince others.

On the one hand, a speech on a special topic was supposed to encourage political discussion, on the other hand and foremost, however, the art of rhetoric in ancient times was used in consulting the leaders of the nation. The basics, on which today’s understanding of scientific methods is founded, originally date back to ancient rhetoricians as well.

Modern memory trainers such as Global Topspeaker Dr. Boris Nikolai Konrad, the designated world record holder in memorising names, make use of the so-called mnemonics – and the ancient Greek name already tells us where that comes from. Simonides of Keos (557/556 B.C. - 468/467 B.C.) is considered to be the inventor of the art of mnemonics.

Just like the speakers in the ancient world, keynote speakers and lecturers are role models: They show us where the road should lead. With experience, profound knowledge and a sense for the effect of speech, they provide new impetus and bring people and companies forward to the next stage.