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Get Ready for The Future:
Twelve Trends Shaping the Future of the Speaking Profession

PDF Report
Download the National Speakers Association State-of-the-Industry Full 21-page Report in a PDF version.


The National Speakers Association State of the Industry Task Force
has been created to gather data and information that will help us get a clearer picture of the forces and trends affecting the future of the speaking profession and the meetings industry. Here is a preliminary look at the structure for your research.

Five Forces: Forces are those external pressures that cause change in an industry or industry segment. The five major forces that are causing change in the speaking profession and the meetings industry are:

1. Market pressures and the economy
2. Demographic changes
3. Consumer choice
4. Technology
5. Political change

These five major forces cause much of the change that we experience in our economy and in our society. These forces lead to twelve trends, or patterns of change that we have identified in the speaking profession.

Twelve Trends:

1. Flying the Fearful Skies: As a result of the tragic events of September 11th, there are still many people who are fearful of flying. This affects meeting attendance, and has caused some celebrity speakers to cancel engagements.

2. Hurry Up and Wait: The increased security at airports has caused speakers to leave earlier for the airport, take earlier flights, and pack differently. It will have an impact on the number of engagements a speaker can comfortably do, and the energy level required to travel to multiple dates back-to-back.

3. What are you doing tomorrow?: Shorter lead times for speaking engagements mean many speakers have calendars that are not as full as far in the future. Meeting planners are waiting longer to book. Their attitude is, "If I can't get the speaker I want, there will be someone else available who is just as good."

4. We need it yesterday: The advent of electronic communications means clients call and want information immediately by fax or e-mail. Planners can wait until the last minute to request information.

5. I wanna be a speaker, too!: Increased competition in the marketplace. More new speakers. More industry speakers with great skills. More celebrity speakers looking for the big bucks.

6. Experts who speak professionally: It's no longer enough to be a great speaker. You need to be established as an expert. Clients want more than one speech. They want expert advice, assistance and guidance.

7. I'm your new meeting planner: Higher turnover of meeting planners. Many new and part-time planners. Many people are planning meetings as part of another job. There's a rapid increase in the number of independent meeting planners. Some independent planners earn their fees by charging a commission to hotels, airlines and caterers. Will this trend extend to speakers?

8. Let's make a deal: Meeting planners are getting accustomed to negotiating prices with hotels, airlines, and caterers... so they naturally want to negotiate with speakers.

9. Let's get real: Meeting planners and audiences are looking for more authenticity in their speakers. It's no longer enough to put on a good performance... you need to be real and connect with the audience.

10. Not on my watch: Planners are reluctant to take risk in the selection of speakers. They want more information faster. They want fewer choices. Some look to bureaus for advice. Planners are being pressured for measurable return on their company's investment in a meeting.

11. What's Hot, What's Not: Interest in specific topics is related to current events. Speakers with a patriotic message have seen increased interest since September 11th.

12. From hi-tech to cyber-tech: Technology is having a huge impact on speakers and the speaking profession.
--- Use of technology in presentations: Anyone can put together a great looking PowerPoint show.
--- Use of technology in business: Web sites, e-mail, PDAs, cell phones, on-line scheduling systems.
--- Use of technology in marketing: Streaming video, streaming audio, Customized CD-ROM.

Email your comments to and they will be forwarded to the task force for report updates.

PDF Report
Download the National Speakers Association State-of-the-Industry Full 21-page Report in a PDF version.

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