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What's trending in 2020?

Louise Ryburn
13 Sep 2019
As we partner with clients covering all sectors and industries across New Zealand and internationally, we are witness to key trends and shifts in the market. We understand the issues concerning some of the leading organisations within New Zealand and globally, what challenges they are facing and what’s on their mind – using this real data which is also backed by our world first industry study which we conducted we are able to be agile and adapt our speakers to the requirements of our clients.
97% of Event Managers believe that engaging the audience is the MOST IMPORTANT objective, followed by the ability for the speaker to inspire.
Regardless of the speaking topic it is crucial that the speaker is engaging and able to inspire the audience.
We are delighted to be able to share with you our most in-demand topics and trends over the last 12 months and what we see to be the most in demand for 2020 and beyond.

Trending speaker topics for 2020

Mental Health

Mental health is without a doubt the most in demand speaking topic of 2019 and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Leaders are looking for outside support to help them tackle the issues of stress, burnout, depression, suicide, resilience and health & wellbeing. We are privileged to be working with people who are at the forefront of this issue and leading the way in supporting New Zealand businesses to make a difference.

Some ideas to suit: Liam Malone, Mike King, Kathryn Berkett
Leadership – Authentic Leadership and Kindness

‘Kindness’ traditionally was rarely mentioned as a desirable leadership trait in fact quite the opposite, but leaders are now realising it is a strength and this can have enormous benefits for organisations. Kindness as a leader means - fairness and equality; accommodating personal issues; treating others with respect; caring and being responsive; communicating with all levels; sharing information and being open and honest; listening and valuing the views of others; counselling and mentoring; and being inclusive as a leader. It is proven that teams respond better, are more productive and loyal to kind leaders. Topic areas include culture, brand, intergenerational leadership, values, HR, inclusion, diversity, trust and so much more.

Some ideas to suit: Cecilia Robinson, Sam Johnson, Dr Paul Wood
Business Insights

Clients are looking to understand what’s next and what’s around the corner so they can prepare their teams and businesses for the changes ahead. What’s hot in the fastest growing economies around the globe, what is the future of the New Zealand economy, planning, strategy, innovation, sustainability and social enterprise are all hot business topics!

Some ideas to suit: Ian Taylor, Logan Williams, Lisa King

Latest trends we’ve spotted at conferences and events

One of the parts we enjoy most about our role is getting out to events to visit clients and see our speakers in action. This year we have been all over New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Canada and Asia to see what’s hot in the events space!
Not one size fits all

It’s all about creating the best scenario for your event and audience. Whether you want a full keynote, panel, interview, workshop, interactive sessions, Q&A or short and sharp Ted X style - we can recommend the right speakers to complement your programme and ensure the perfect fit speaker.

For seven in ten event organisers (71%) getting the right speaker is more important than other elements that go into planning an event.
Diversity and inclusion in your speaker programme

We are seeing a movement across the globe to ensure that a conference showcases a range of views through a diverse range of voices. We can help you curate a speaker line-up to ensure experiences are created that are truly welcoming and inclusive to all.

Data hacked creativity

Event planners are wanting to create personalised and meaningful experiences and are using data to create tailored event content. There are a range of event apps that make this possible and can easily be implemented by sending a pre-event survey or running questionnaires on your website to the potential attendees.

71% of Event Managers agree that delegates want to be active rather than passive participants.

This is not a new concept to anyone – however there are constantly new and innovative ideas been created to tackle the issues within the conference and events industry. Being able to demonstrate that you are running a sustainable event is becoming increasingly important to not only the attendees but also the sponsors and stakeholders.

  • Food: We are seeing sustainability in both the food options i.e. using Eat My Lunch for their catering and helping out local schools, but also in dealing with the waste – we were so impressed with our clients who recently sent all their food waste to a local pig farm and the food that wasn’t touched to homeless shelters.
  • Paperless: Many conferences are now paperless – choosing to run everything digitally.
  • No plastic: Removing the use of plastic bottles, straws, cutlery and bringing in sustainable options such as the use of keep cups.
  • Waste disposal: Ensuring recycling rubbish bins are easily accessible throughout venues and outlining what waste goes where.
  • Suppliers: Using event suppliers, venues and caterers who themselves use sustainable practices.
  • Carbon emissions through travel: This is a tricky issue for clients bringing events to New Zealand with the environmental cost of long haul travel, however, a lot of conferences are tackling this through paying carbon taxes, tree planting, and encouraging people to take advantage of the conference as their annual overseas holiday.
Community conscious

We love seeing our clients who give back to the local communities that they are a part of for the duration of their conference – donating to local schools, charities and food banks. We were thrilled to be able to have used Eat My Lunch at a recent event (where every lunch purchased gives a lunch to a child in need) and we are excited to see a number of our clients adopting this idea too.


This is not a new concept to event planners but there are constantly new ideas being introduced at events to encourage healthy practices – including healthy food options and catering to different dietary requirements, group morning exercise sessions, mindfulness breaks throughout the day and mixing up the format of days so you are not sitting all day.


Certainly, a key reason people attend conferences is for the connections they make – it’s been exciting to see the changes being made to enable easier networking and connections through event apps, including pre-event access - which is a great ice breaker for attendees. There has also been a big move towards the sharing of knowledge and ensuring emerging talent and new leaders attending conferences have access to the fountain of knowledge held by the more experienced attendees, something that traditionally never happened. This is being achieved through mentoring sessions, speed networking, meeting apps, and of course dedicated panel or Q & A sessions within the conference programme.

If you would like to know about trending speakers and speaker topics please feel free to pick up the phone +64 9 373 4177 we always love to chat all things speakers, MC’s and entertainers or drop us a line at [email protected] and we will get straight back to you to assist with expert planning and advice for your speaker line up – ensuring you hit all the latest trends! It’s completely no obligation!
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