A crowd of people from behind attending a conference.
Moving into 2023 we’d like to share with you the conference themes and trends our industry has experienced, and what’s on the horizon.

5 Conference Theme Trends of 2023 According to An Expert

Each year the Mollie Plotkin Group is asked to report on the biggest trends seen in the keynote speaking industry. As we close out 2022, we’d like to share with you the conference themes and trends our industry has experienced, what’s on the 2023 horizon, and what changes are here to stay.

1. In-person is in Style

2022 was an exercise in last-minute planning. Our keynote speaking industry historically worked on a four to eight month booking cycle, but last year it became commonplace to have a request for a speaker with three to six weeks notice. Since 2020, a Covid outbreak could cancel a meeting at the last minute. Because of this, meeting planning professionals learned how to execute a seamless meeting with little time to plan. We see this lead time become longer in 2023, with the average speaker requests now coming in at 12 to 18 weeks. 

Hybrid and virtual are here to stay (and that’s a good thing). The ability to connect virtually continues to allow clients to engage a larger audience with significantly lower costs. Keynote speaker fees for virtual events are still tracking about 70% of their live rate.

2. Macro-Economics & Business Conference Themes

Economists and Cybersecurity Experts have become the rock stars of the keynote speaking world. 2022 saw a swell in requests for medical keynote speakers and supply chain experts; audiences now want to know what the experts have to say about the economy and cybersecurity. Our clients in the Housing, Trades, Banking and Association Management areas are scheduling Economists and Cybersecurity Experts to speak to their organizations at numbers not previously seen. Conference themes of disruption focusing on economics and cybersecurity have conversely been on the rise.

3. New Perspectives and Renewed Enthusiasm Conference Themes

2023 conference themes are going to be about creativity, personalization and engagement. Meeting planners are making investments to secure multiple speakers at the same event and have them tailor their keynotes to work in conjunction with each other. Puzzle creators, musicians and celebrity magicians are working with corporate teams in ways never utilized before. Conference themes of “new perspectives” or “renewed enthusiasm” are aided by focuses on creativity and employee engagement. Authors continue to deliver keynotes in conjunction with book buys. However, they are now followed up with a virtual facilitated conversation with their audience. 

4. Leadership & Team Building Events

Leadership and team building conference themes will continue to be in high demand. With the uncertainty of the global economy, businesses are responding by investing in better leadership practices with the hopes of creating stronger teams.

5. Employee Appreciation and Client Engagement Events

Employee and client engagement conference themes will have a huge spike in 2023. Mid to large size companies continue to face “quiet quitting” and the challenge of finding qualified candidates for job postings. Employees want to feel valued and to know that their employer is investing in their future success. Corporate burnout continues to be an issue. Motivation and Team Building requests will continue to be strong. 

Final Thoughts

The further we are from highly repeated phrases such as “global shutdown due to Covid”, the faster we are leaping towards an exciting world of in-person keynotes, programming and experiences. If you would like to learn more, you can read my Purple Pass interview on meeting planning post-pandemic.

Mollie Plotkin

Founder, Mollie Plotkin Group (MPG)

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