2016 was a year of change and uncertainty, leaving many companies at a loss as to what to do next and how to strategically plan for the future.
We have seen how external influences have very much shaped what our clients are looking to gain from having an expert speaker attend their event - in terms of content, topic and speaker type.
Our Head of Account Management, Adam Cuthbert, notes that “A lot more clients are looking for content and topics that are very much in line with their day and the theme of the event, rather than just a standardised speech. Also, in terms of delivery, we are seeing surges in requests for more interactive sessions where audience engagement is key”.
Using our data from 2016, then, we have identified the top trends, whipped out our crystal ball, and tried to make some predictions about what is turning out to be a most unpredictable world indeed.
The most requested speaker topic of 2016 was technology. In a world where business must embrace digital to survive and technology is constantly disrupting industries, companies are looking to get ahead of their competitors by calling in experts from this field. These tech-savvy individuals, who live and breathe the latest innovations and developments, can provide the advice, tools and inspiration that forward-thinking organisations need for putting in place new and more effective ideas and strategies.
With companies like Uber and Airbnb topping everyone’s list of success stories, companies are constantly looking at what they can do to improve their offering to their customers across non-traditional channels.
Moreover, as VR and cyber security are predicted to be big trends going forward, we are sure to see technology speakers continuing to be in high demand.
(See our range of technology speakers here)
Facilitators topped the type of speaker booked in 2016. More and more, event planners are taking advantage of the dependability that can be provided by having a safe pair of hands to guide the day, ensure that an event runs smoothly, and even to ask the questions that the audience may be too afraid to ask.
However, it is facilitators who are experts in their specific field who have really experienced being in high demand – for example, tech journalists, economic experts, and sports specialists – reinforcing Adam’s comment that businesses are really tailoring their day to their theme.
With confidence in using a facilitator rising, we would expect to see this appetite continue going forward!
(Need a facilitator for your next event? See a selection here)
Innovation was in the second spot after technology. Speakers who have demonstrably transformed a company, influenced an industry, or come up with an innovative product were in high demand in 2016.
In a year where uncertainty reigned, companies are looking to harness the skill and creativity of their internal workforce to generate new ideas that can grow and, in some cases, revolutionise their offering in their marketplace.
From speakers who can talk on how to nurture a culture of innovation, to practical interactive sessions with experts to help audiences come up with ideas for their area of the business, event planners are really using this type of speaker to ensure that, whatever the event, the results last long beyond the day itself.
(Browse some of our innovation speakers)
A previously unheard of term, we noticed the word Brexit starting to enter our client’s vocabulary during February 2016. Unsurprisingly, this peaked in June, with clients bringing in experts to explain and assist with what leaving the European union could mean to them and their businesses.
Interestingly, the appetite for Brexit speakers dipped sharply in July, as people digested the news that the UK would indeed be leaving the EU, but we saw enquiries and searches increase again over the rest of the year.
Although Brexit was the encompassing topic, we saw, within this, an array of different subjects being discussed via business experts. From political debates to economist viewpoints, the world was keen to know what the implications would be.
In this vein, we are sure to see clients continue to request speakers to talk about the overarching impact of Brexit, alongside specialist guidance around issues such as import/export, finance and specific business interests.
Overall, as our MD Nick Gold pointed out in his blog, if 2016 was a year of unexpected uncertainty, we can expect 2017 to be a year where clients want to explore the resultant threats and opportunities. A great speaker can provide the information, viewpoints and experiences that will help audiences understand and plan for what lies ahead in the next year, as well as the next decade and beyond.
For more information or to book any of our speakers please email as firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0207 607 7070.