Strategic planning is so much easier when we can make some decently good predictions about what will happen. That’s why 2020 was so difficult to plan because EVERYTHING seemed so unpredictable. Just when an organization would sign off on a plan, something in the world would change, and the plan would be deemed useless.
We signed, shredded, revised, and resigned more contracts in 2020 than any of our prior 15 years in operation. The only thing in 2020 that was predictable was that nothing was predictable.
The good news is that there is some stability in the future, so I’m going to share with you my best predictions for 2021 related to our world tiny world of professional speaking and helping leaders build a Culture of Connection™ within their teams and organizations.
1) Mostly Virtual Programming Until Fall – As much as we are excited to get back to hugging each other in person, it’s going to have to wait. By Fall, the U.S. population will be mostly vaccinated, and that should be the turning point to allow for more in-person programming.
2) “Sorry, we can’t commit yet.” – Unlike last year, where money was already earmarked to specific programming before COVID and couldn’t be taken back, this year, the budgeting took COVID into account. So organizations are going to be much tighter with spending money. I suspect our signed contracting numbers will be lower for the first six months of the year and will drastically pick up by July/August.
3) More Tactics Fewer Antics – People are “zoomed out” and will continue to be so into 2021. Programs will need to figure out how to deliver more tangible value in a shorter period of time. It’s going to be less about the speaker speaking, which is easy to zone out of, and more about the audience engaging with each other.
4) Virtual Engagement 2.0 – By now, everyone knows the basics of virtual engagement, so the great speakers of the world will figure out ways to innovate their virtual engagement strategies to things never seen before.
5) “You’re on mute” – People, myself included, will still forget to unmute themselves when talking.
6) Prices Will Go Up – While 2020 pricing for virtual programs was all over the board, 2021 pricing will be more stable and overall higher. The reason is partly related to market pricing dynamics, and because speakers priced so low in 2020, the only way to go is up.
7) “Beam me in, Scotty” – Many programs will have the speaker deliver the program virtually while projected on a large screen with the participants physically distancing in-person in one or many rooms. The reason for this is because places like a college campus will be like controlled bubbles where the students will be on the inside the bubble, and no outsiders will be allowed in.
8) Here To Stay – It’s clear that many teams are going remote for a long time, so even though we might be seeing each other again in person soon, virtual programming is here to stay for a long time.
That’s it! I’m looking forward to seeing how many of my predictions hold up as we enter into 2021. But now it’s time to stay guessing what will happen and focus on doing the hard work to create our own luck. Here. We. Go!