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Speaker trends in the new business environment

For planners, the reopening of in-person events brings back the task of selecting and negotiating compelling keynote speakers and other featured speakers. top of their game.

To better understand the current environment for attracting speakers for specific audiences, MeetingsNet spoke with Warren Jones, co-owner and CEO of Keppler Speakers Bureau, this week.40th anniversary of foundationth This anniversary year, Kepler will offer speakers from the worlds of business leadership, achievement, diversity, exploration, innovation, cybersecurity, world affairs, entertainment, sports and the arts.

Meeting Net: Now that the post-pandemic business environment has stabilized somewhat, what is the difference in what corporate groups are looking to get from speakers? Is it a hands-on business experience that is hot or an inspirational theme?
Warren Jones: Some topics that were in demand at the event held at the height of the pandemic have overtaken. It’s been replaced by forward-looking topics like innovation in the world and team collaboration in uncertain times.

Whether it’s protecting your business from cyberattacks, helping you read the economic tea leaves, or building new leadership strengths, speakers who provide practical guidance to attendees do well. , inclusion, environmental, social and governance speakers are in high demand.

A speaker’s hands-on experience lays the foundation for audience trust. Great stories captivate attendees, and speaker achievements certainly inspire. And while attention-grabbing “personality” types get attention, they need to deliver the goods.

Meeting Net: What do you see in terms of speaker demand across the Association segment? A marketing campaign for an Association event may benefit from a well-known name, but attendees will find inspiration from an interesting person. You want more than a message, right?
Jones: Since most associations are made up of business entities, issues such as retaining talent, arranging remote work, and building an innovative culture are just as relevant and engaging as corporate groups. Our association clients are often interested in specific speakers and topics because of the industries they represent. promote and retail associations may want protection from cyberattacks.

Meeting Net: Would some groups be open to having a speaker attend from a remote location even if the meeting was held in person? Relationship quality declines. What are you looking at?
Jones: The majority of event planners and speakers are embracing the return of in-person events. As attendees, we all struggle with her Zoom fatigue, but the speaker is growing with feedback from the live audience.

Some customers still book virtual speaker appearances, but it’s more related to the logistics and format of individual events than simply seeking lower rates or overall cost control. Fortunately, the intellectual value of a speaker’s content is not diminished by presenting it in an online format.

Meeting Net: Are there interesting ways for groups to engage speakers with attendees and sponsors before and after presentations in person to maximize attendee value?
Jones (in the photo): A corporate client who had booked a keynote speaker recently arranged a small, informal gathering with the board of directors the night before the keynote. Beyond these encounters, however, the planner is exploring several different formats for interaction, sometimes pairing the speaker with her. This adds its own dimension with each different perspective and energy. However, moderated Q&A and panels are often the go-to option, and speakers often employ them to ensure that the content is truly customized to their audience. I have. Another custom content idea: Many speakers create a quick video greeting prior to a group-specific event that has proven popular.

Meeting Net: Could speaker fees and related costs rise significantly due to inflation, blowing planners’ speaker budgets for upcoming events?
Jones: The recent cost increases are driven by factors beyond the control of both planners and speakers: airline and ground service costs. Rising costs, coupled with the uncertainty of modern flight schedules, pose a real challenge for planners, speakers and agencies alike.

Meeting Net: At this time, it is best to bring featured speakers to their conference destinations two days before their speaking time to avoid exhausting speakers or missing their scheduled appointments due to airline delays or cancellations. Is not it?
Jones: Our Customer Engagement Managers and Speaker Engagement Managers overcome these challenges every day, creating little miracles. Often times, it’s important to balance a planner’s budget with the comfort of knowing that the speaker will have plenty of time between when they arrive and when they hit the stage. Our speakers faced frequent travel changes and complications this year. Luckily, they’re old-school road warriors.

My advice to planners is to not rely on just one backup plan.We learned firsthand what you must have backup A backup plan for keynotes and other featured presentations.