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Speaker Trends Influencing Meetings for 2024

Meeting professionals have been inundated with trends in the workforce, trends in food and beverage and trends in contractual language, but what are the trends that can affect a planner’s work in identifying an invigorating speaker? As I perused various references, including the American Express Global Survey, AAE Speakers Speaking Industry Benchmark Report and SpeakerFlow, I gleaned important facts that will be helpful when selecting your next keynote speaker.

The most important trend to be cognizant of is that attendee numbers are continuing to rise. The effects of the pandemic are in the rear-view mirror. Currently, $37 billion is being spent on meetings every year and 25 million meetings are being produced every day. One of the biggest growth areas is projected to be small- to medium-size meetings, including team-building, retreats, C-suite meetings, training and consulting.


Popular speaker topics vary depending on the organization and workforce challenges, but the top five subjects for 2024 are:

1. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

2. Artificial Intelligence

3. Leadership and Motivation

4. Future of Work

5. Mental Health

Depending on the source, there will be some discrepancy in the order of the top five topics. DEI’s popularity is succumbing to artificial intelligence, closely followed by leadership and motivation. New topics and concerns are coming to the forefront every day.


One of the biggest speaker trends surfacing is the change in timing for briefing calls to speakers with planners and decision makers. This has decreased from 30 days to two weeks. Because business and economic circumstances can change so quickly, planners want to ensure that speaker presentations are as timely as possible.

Another rising trend is that the speaker selection process is taking longer. Budget restraints and having more than one decision maker assisting with the choice help account for these delays.

Five factors influence attendance, and speakers should pay close attention to these considerations:

1. Location

2. Networking opportunities

3. Cost

4. Content

5. Overall safety


Let’s dive deeper into the content factor. Content will always be king, and customization is key to having an electrifying speech. Planners are seeking presentations that are customized to their audiences, along with being educational, engaging, empowering and interactive. They desire new nuggets of information their attendees can apply immediately. One in four planners was disappointed in a keynote presentation because the speaker did not know the dynamics of the audience. Communication from the planner is essential to helping speakers tailor their presentations to solve specific problems for a specific group of attendees.

Planners’ expectations for speakers’ involvement are ever-expanding. They are seeking strategic partners willing to assist with some of the dynamics of the meeting and agree to:

  • Engage in social media promotion of their meeting.
  • Participate in book signings.
  • Attend receptions the night before the presentation.
  • Meet with the executive team.
  • Help audiences understand complicated concepts.
  • Follow up after the meeting.
  • Extend the educational value with interviews or magazine articles.


In closing, here are a few other interesting statistics you might find helpful during the planning process.

  • Speaker fees are ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, plus travel expenses. The average budget for keynote speakers is between $14,000 and $22,000.
  • The length of keynote speeches remains between 45 and 60 minutes.
  • More than three-fourths of planners prefer face-to-face meetings.
  • Meetings and events will be a $2.1 trillion industry by 2032 with a 6.4% growth rate.

Betty E. Garrett, CMP

Betty E. Garrett, CMP, is the former owner of a small boutique speaker bureau for 31 years and is the founder of Garrett Executive Coaching.

betty (at)