What is a futurist speaker? It all depends on what you’re looking for in a keynote speaker – and if you’re looking to them to provide breakouts, training workshops, seminars, lectures, or other forms of live or online virtual presentations entirely. In effect, the answer varies by the type of end purpose to which you’d like to put a professional guest speaker and presenter.
For simplicity’s sake though, the answer to the burning question at hand – what is a futurist speaker? – is much as it sounds: A futurist keynote speaker is typically asked to help event attendees reimagine the future, think about what emerging trends are on the horizon, and consider the impact of new or unforeseen developments on their business or career. Meeting and event planners hire futurist speakers to help set the tone for conferences, tradeshows, and other special occasions. In essence, it’s the virtual or live presenter’s job to challenge audiences to think about breaking topics of interest and how they’re preparing themselves to greet or adapt to them.
As a general rule, professional futurist speakers give talks at corporate meetings, company retreats, and board meetings with the goal promoting core program themes (e.g. providing “keynote” speeches that, as the name indicates, cement the tone and topic for the event). Likewise, it’s also their role to challenge commonly-held assumptions, get audiences to think more deeply about emerging trends, and inspire attendees to achieve positive change and growth.
So what is a futurist speaker overall? It may help to work backwards and start by thinking about the goals they’re assigned. Specifically, common reasons why futurist keynote speakers are hired include: Drumming up support and enthusiasm for new ventures, specific topics, or emerging areas of interest; ensuring that teams are staying productive, staying forward-thinking, and staying on the same page; and teaching organizations and individuals how to overcome new and novel (or even familiar) challenges and maintain peak performance. Similarly, they’re often tasked with raising awareness for and interest in subjects of rising future import (e.g. cybersecurity- and ransomware-related challenges). It’s their job as presenters to provide audiences with fresh insight and perspective – but even more so, to provide those who attend their speaking programs with key mindset shifts and actionable tools that drive change, innovation, and personal or business growth.
So in the end, what is a futurist speaker? If pressed, we’d say it’s someone asked to study, observe, and comment on new trends and technology that they see emerging – and prompt audiences to think more deeply about surrounding developments’ potential impact on their life and work.