People in most organizations are under pressure to think about the immediate needs of the present: the meeting tomorrow, the report due next week, the event in two months.
It is far less common to have the chance to think about the needs of the long term future. But history suggests that this step is critical. Leaders who do not take the time to envision what the future could look like find it difficult to adapt to change, let alone shape their destiny.
This is where a futurist keynote speaker can help. In their presence, your audience members finally have the time and the permission to lay aside the demands of the present and to embark on the creative and critical work of exploring the future. If they are in the hands of a strong speaker, the audience should walk away with an actionable understanding of how they can bring future considerations into the decisions they make in the present.
Identifying a strong keynote futurist speaker
If you are seeking a strong futurist speaker for your next event or retreat, you may consider these three guidelines for vetting your candidates:
- Relevance. There is a plethora of trendy, dramatic topics for a futurist speaker to work with right now. We live in extraordinary times. Technological changes on the horizon are amazing, opportunities for exponential advances are jaw dropping and the threats can be terrifying. But at the end of the day, it only matters if your audience can connect the speaker’s megatrends to their own concerns, needs and hopes. Your next great futurist speaker should be able to draw the connections from any trends they discuss and make them relevant to your organization or audience. If your potential speaker is curious and sensitive to your industry and concerns when you have your opening conversation, then you have may have a winning speaker candidate.
- Skills. Great speakers help enhance people’s ability to take action by sharing not only information, but also tools for thinking about the future itself. Recognizing signals of change and understanding trends aren’t magic, but learnable skills. Your futurist speaker should be able and open to sharing with your audience a skill or two about how to think with the rigor and creativity of a futurist.
- Empowerment. Much of the language regarding the future that surrounds us in popular media and the news makes it sound as if “the future” is unchangeable. This leaves many people feeling passive or helpless: as if the future were a tidal wave and they are powerless to alter it in any way. The best futurist speakers leave their audience not simply inspired, but empowered with the understanding that the future is a space of opportunity, adaptation and innovation.
Finding a futurist speaker who can offer your audience relevance, skills and empowerment will ultimately serve your audience better than a speaker who relies on generic information or buzzwords. Forming a legitimate connection with the organization or audience should be a speaker’s top priority. And by vetting your potential speakers with these three criteria, you are ensuring your audience receives a specific and informative presentation that will hopefully resonate with them long after the speaker receives their applause.
Prescient CEO Amy Zalman offers tailored presentations that empower, open minds, and activate futures, challenging her audience to explore the impacts on our basic assumptions about how the world works, and she is a frequent speaker who has addressed audiences on 5 continents.
To see how previous clients have benefitted from a Prescient keynote address, read our success stories. If you are ready to inquire about Amy’s availability for your own next conference, contact Amy at Prescient today.