I am organizing a workshop and have invited a featured speaker to give a synthetic talk. What is the appropriate term for this role?

  • 5
    "Synthetic talk"?
    – BrenBarn
    Jan 11, 2014 at 23:52

3 Answers 3


They are both used (often interchangeably in my field). A plenary is a talk which does not have anything scheduled against it. A keynote is an invited talk in a conference or session.


I came up with this answer while asking the question:

Both terms indicate a sort of synthesis, but plenary seems to refer to being fully attended whereas keynote appears to indicate setting a common theme.


Keynote; A theme by an authority person with credentials on topic and knoledge of participants and their reason for being here. Speaker offers challenges. Plenary; Speaker/ Facilitator with authority remarks to stimulate input and discussion by all to come to conclusion for action.

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