The speaking industry, like others, is facing constant change. How you as a speaker can adapt to that change will dictate your success. Here are some things to think about.
The Events Industry Council, Washington, D.C., has released the preliminary results from its third Economic Significance Study and report “the top-line results reveal increases in the number of attendees, the number of meetings, and the direct spending related to these meetings.”
MICE reports “With the slowdown in world economic growth, the Inbound Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Tourism Industry has also suffered a certain impact, but still maintained a relatively optimistic growth, the past four years.”
AMEX meetings and events outlook for 2018 – “The report is largely optimistic about the state of the meetings industry, noting that attendance continues to grow—especially in North America, where conference and tradeshow attendee levels are anticipated to increase by 1.8 percent in 2018.
AMEX meetings and events outlook for 2019 –
“Despite steady growth, there are a number of unique challenges meeting planners are facing today. Budgets are not growing as quickly as attendees’ expectations. Hotel and air prices are on their way up while commission rates, often used to fund meetings, are heading down. The European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation is requiring event owners to scrutinize their data security and attendee privacy policies”
Travel professionals are putting an emphasis on the fact that female business travelers face unique risks while traveling compared to their male counterparts. It will be interesting to see this addressed.
What we know are that clients are seeking more interactive programs. They are asking speakers to use their social media channels to publicize meetings. Virtual programs continue to have a role but don’t seem to be replacing in-person gatherings.
What does the above mean for you? It means that content reigns. Purely motivational or inspirational fluff will not make it. Many of you have heard me say that you need to describe your programs as “high content, motivational in style and tone” if you insist on the “M” word. If you do, “motivational” becomes a style choice, not a content choice.
Corporations and associations are looking for programs that will do one of these things:
- increase productivity
- performance, communication, employee retention
- increase shareholder value
This means if the outcome of your program affects one of the above, you’re more likely to be hired. You’re also more likely to be hired if you can offer clients information, tactics, techniques and strategies that can be applied immediately. Clients basically hire you to create a change in behavior.
The economy is good but shaky. Many corporations are making record profits. Many feel uncertainty may lead to a recession in 18 months or so. We’ll see. However, lead times will still be short. Clients have a “wait and see” attitude when hiring outside experts. They wait to ensure they are addressing current concerns, so they drag their feet and wait until the last minute.
What does this mean for you? It means that even if your calendar looks lean now, things can change quickly. It also means we better be good stewards of our money or we won’t have a business.
A personal thought. My hope is that awareness about the lack of diversity on platforms continues to grow. People who make decisions need to make sure their platform reflects the audience makeup. More women, more people of color.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed, our calendars open, and our negotiation skills keen!
Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and fully monetize their intellectual property! She can be reached in the following ways:
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