Top 5 Speaking Trends

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Each year the McCrindle Speakers are called on to deliver more than 150 keynote speeches, research presentations, and workshops across Australia and internationally.

Some of these are small executive sessions while others are national conferences, sometimes it is a short 30 minute address and other engagements are half-day interactive workshops.

This volume and varied contexts gives us a great perspective on the trends in audience engagement and what works best when it comes to speaking and presentations.

So here are our top 5 speaking trends:

1. Less is more

The trend is for shorter sessions but more of them to provide a better event. The pressure is on conference organisers to deliver more from events. Not only is it harder to get delegates to attend and stay at longer events, but the sit and listen approach is giving way to snappier sessions to accommodate shorter attention spans, busier lives and more distractions. Over the last decade the one-hour standard presentation has been replaced by the 45-minute session being the norm- and indeed the rise of the 30-minute keynote session.

2. Make it visual

It's called a presentation for a reason- what is seen and heard has more impact than a speech alone. The best communicators deliver great content in an engaging way- reinforcing their message through easily consumed visual cues. The power of a story, the cut through of an image, the cross-cultural connection of a picture, the speed of understanding an infographic and the retention power of a symbol are why visuals work.

3. Reinforce the message

Communication is more impacting when the presentation is supported with handouts or follow up materials. We find that professionally printed infographic cards, visual summaries, or industry report cards are very useful when attendees have such handouts for a presentation. Additionally more in-depth industry reports, research papers and the presentation slides can be made available electronically after the session to add more depth and impact.

4. Maximise the value

Corporate budgets are being kept tight and when an event cost can provide benefits beyond the one-off session, it is more likely to get the green light. The investment in a speaker can be also assisted with an additional workshop, participation in a Q and A panel, and providing new and specific content for social media and mainstream media to help create interest and activity around an event. However the impact can begin even before the event. As researchers, we often provide a survey for delegates or industry representatives to complete before the conference so that a “snapshot” of the organisation or industry can be presented. Such surveys not only provide valuable data and a big-picture overview, but the very process of surveying builds anticipation of the upcoming events and encourages registrations in the knowledge that the results will be presented at the event.

5. Keep it real

Speakers need to be engaging and dynamic but they must also ensure that they deliver solid content which is real-world. There has been a strong trend over the last decade to move from motivational sessions to practical, applicable presentations. The best communicators are not theorists but experts who are equipped not with ideas or anecdotes as much as relevant research and findings and so are able to deliver actionable insights.


From our terrain in the trends and change space we have analysed the Top 5 Topics in demand by business leaders and event organisers at the moment:

1. Changing Times, Emerging Trends: An overview of the megatrends transforming the business and consumer landscape from social change to transitioning technology, from population shifts to global trends.

2. Managing Change and Leading Innovation: Assisting teams through unprecedented change, managing a workforce of growing diversity and moving from a structured style to a collaborative environment are key skills for today’s leaders.

3. Effective Communication-: Bringing data to life: In a world of big data and information overload we need visual data and engaging communication. This session showcases how to find and tell the story behind the numbers.

4. Demographic Trends, Emerging Consumers:A snapshot of the ever-changing customer and the new consumer segments.

5. Understanding the New Generations: From Boomers and Xers to Generations Y and Z, the generational landscape is changing and engaging with diverse generations at work or as clients is essential.

McCrindle Speakers

Whether you are looking for a keynote address at national conference, an onsite professional development workshop, or a strategy briefing for senior leaders, our presenters have the experience to ensure your event is a success.

Our presenters not only deliver keynote addresses at national conferences but specialise in the delivery of executive level briefings, strategic retreats, executive planning days, and in-house PD sessions that provide top-level industry scans to equip teams with the latest strategies to succeed.

Market analysis briefings guide decision-makers on the latest consumer segments while industry future forums outline the current trends, implications, outcomes, and recommendations of a product or service offering.


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