In 2023, we collectively embarked on a transformative journey of self-discovery and growth amidst the evolving landscape of the new working world. This pivotal year symbolized our resilience and commitment to not merely rebuilding, but emerging stronger and more resilient than ever before in the aftermath of the COVID-19 storm. 

It was a truly enchanting chapter, one that warrants collective pride for the obstacles overcome and the profound lessons learned. In facing both positive and negative challenges, we, as a community, demonstrated adaptability, resilience, and an unwavering forward-leaning spirit. The year unfolded with a blend of curiosity, determination, and a shared vision to contribute to a better world for all. 

In the midst of uncertainty, many dared to question: “What about me? What about the essence of humanity behind the business? Who are we as individuals, not just reaching the destination, but also embracing the diverse journeys that shape us?” This introspective moment compelled us to define our identity, chart our desired course in the world, and align our organizations and people with that vision.  

Reflecting on our work at TA Speakers Management, where we collaborate with clients to recommend and book transformative keynote speakers, I am delighted to present five compelling topics and themes in the realm of human connection and the human experience that are currently in high demand. These insights, as we venture into a new year, promise to set your organization apart and foster leadership that transcends both personal and professional realms, contributing to the prosperity of all involved.  

As you strategize for upcoming educational events and meetings in 2024, our team is eager to offer support that goes beyond expectations. We aim to empower you and your team to stand out in what I like to call the rise of the human and purpose eras. Below, you’ll find a curated selection of hot topics and how our speakers seamlessly align with them for your thoughtful consideration.

1) Workplace Culture & Human-First Approaches:

In the current landscape marked by quiet quitting, labour challenges, and retention/attraction struggles, the significance of your workplace culture, both internally and externally, has never been more important. We find ourselves amid the ascent of the human era, where individuals seek assurance that the substantial portion of their daily lives invested at work holds meaning and contributes to making the world a better place.

Enterprises that grasp the art of cultivating cultures wherein individuals feel genuinely acknowledged, valued, and recognized on a human level—where they can revel in the joy of work while embracing their authentic selves—are the ones poised to endure and flourish for years to come within their respective industries. The crux lies in understanding that fostering such an environment is not merely a nicety but a strategic imperative, ensuring sustained success and resilience in the face of evolving challenges.

Speaker ideas rocking it in this space:

Daniel Lewis with his talk on Creating A Magnetic Work Culture

Sarah McVanel through her signature talk on The Exponential Power of Recognition

Gregg Brown through his speech One Person at a Time: Leading in the Future of Work 

2) Beyond Resilience with Mental Health & Wellness First:

Over the past three years, resilience has been our steadfast companion as we collectively faced the challenges of the pandemic. However, the time has come to transcend mere resilience, go beyond and embrace the profound understanding that, regardless of the circumstances we encounter, we possess the capacity to not only endure but triumph over any adversity. Embedded within the insights of our thought leaders, a consistent thread emerges—one that shows that failures and setbacks serve as tools for cultivating grit and surpassing the self-imposed limitations eloquently described by speaker Gregg Brown. The mantra becomes clear: where belief in our capabilities thrives, so does our ability to prevail. 

Sarah McVanel, in her exploration for her book FLIP Failure, unveils a universal truth: the road to success, navigated by anyone who has triumphed, is paved with firsthand experiences of failing forward. It is this very journey through setbacks that fortifies individuals and propels them beyond the confines of mere resilience. 

Brandi Leifso’s narrative is a testament to the power of choice—illustrating that, amid facing domestic violence and the need to rebuild repeatedly, our lives are shaped by the approximately 35,000 choices we make daily. Even in adversity, the strength of choice and empathy guided her. The question lingers: what possibilities await you and your team through conscious choices? 

Tonia Jahshan, in her speech “Soldiering On with Self-Awareness,” advocates for breaking the silence surrounding mental health. It’s a call to authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty about life’s less glamorous moments—the struggles we often navigate both personally and professionally. The time has come to prioritize self-care and wellness, boldly taking the lead. Now is the time more than ever – you go first!  

Jamie McMillan shows us that living a life of passion and purpose and not following the “traditional” path is where the magic happens. It’s in the journey not the destination.ything. Through the thought-leaders we work with, a common theme is that failure and setbacks are what teach us to be gritty and push beyond what our speaker Gregg Brown says “our self imposed limitations”. When we believe we can, we will! 

3) Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – We all matter:

In the current landscape, the significance of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) has reached unprecedented heights. Organizations that champion a culture of acceptance, celebrating the richness of all individuals regardless of abilities, backgrounds, or cultural distinctions, emerge as leaders in all they do.  

A term that resonates profoundly in this context, coined by our speaker Michael Kutcher, is “Diffabilities: we all have different abilities.” Living with Cerebral Palsy, Michael faced unique challenges growing up, and emphasizes that our distinctive qualities, differences, and standout attributes collectively define our humanity. He champions the message that acknowledging and understanding these differences isn’t a checkbox exercise; rather, it’s about actively fostering an environment of inclusivity. His personal journey serves as a powerful testament to the transformative impact of embracing diversity in its truest sense. 

Jamie McMillan, a trailblazer as one of the pioneering women in the skilled trades, exemplifies that regardless of gender, sexual orientation, background, or ability, anyone can forge the career and life they aspire to. Her insights guide organizations on how to “detoxify” the workplace in the skilled trades, fostering environments where individuals, no matter who they are, not only stay but also thrive. Through her experience, Jamie reinforces that building inclusive workplaces isn’t just a moral imperative—it’s a strategic approach that leads to enduring success and growth for all.  

4) Authenticity, Vulnerability & Self-Awareness:

Ultimately, the essence of human connection underscores every facet of business, as we yearn to engage with the person behind the product or service. In forging meaningful connections, authenticity and vulnerability emerge as important qualities, transcending professional roles—be it sales professionals, HR leaders, executives, managers, entrepreneurs, or customer service agents. The deeper our authenticity, the greater our vulnerability, and the more authentically human we become, the greater the potential for success in every interaction. 

Speaking to this very point, Daniel Lewis guides us through his session, “THE POP: Power of Personality,” revealing how we can seamlessly infuse our unique personality into all aspects of our lives. He prompts us to revisit our childhood selves, the individuals blissfully playing in the sandbox without concern for approval or the weight of fears. It’s an invitation to reconnect with that unfiltered authenticity—the true human self—where success is not just measured in transactions but in the genuine connections we create through our authentic, uninhibited presence.  

Other speakers rocking it in this space:

Sarah McVanel

Brandi Leifso

Tonia Jahshan

Jamie McMillan 

5) Social Impact & Purpose:

We are in the rise of the purpose era! People and organizations care more about who they do business with than ever-before. Having and engaging with those who are giving back, doing good and truly making the world a better place is key. It’s that feel-good humanness we love so much. We take pride and value in knowing that our purchase or contribution to something mattered on a deeper level. 

Brandi Leifso is a perfect example of someone who built and cares about social impact and helping those who need it the most. Evio Beauty, her company is a testament to her unwavering commitment to social impact, extending a helping hand to those in dire need. Evio isn’t just a beauty company; it’s a social-impact powerhouse that not only gives back but also raises awareness about the critical issue of Domestic Violence. Purpose matters, what is yours? 

Bonus: In-demand style of speakers:

It’s been really interesting examining over the years what most of our clients are asking for in terms of format and style of the speaker. In the realm of Keynote presentations, there is a shift in demand—more than ever before, people are seeking speakers who can seamlessly blend entertainment with profound educational insights. In a world steeped in seriousness and saturated with negativity, there is a thirst for experiences that inject joy, humour, and meaningful connection, all wrapped up in the art of storytelling. 

Beyond mere entertainment, audiences desire a fusion of inspiration and tangible, practical takeaways that can be immediately applied in the workplace. While storytelling is an art appreciated by many, its impact is magnified when it serves as a guideline for valuable lessons. It’s not just about the narratives; it’s about drawing parallels and imparting actionable wisdom that individuals can carry back to their work, ready to implement and make a difference.  

In essence, the demand is not merely for speakers but for engaging and enlightening performers who elevate the keynote experience to an immersive blend of entertainment, inspiration, and practicality. 

I trust that this article has provided you with insightful ideas, offering a glimpse into what people need and want today within the world at large and your own community, members, and beyond. As we approach 2024, the demand of human connection takes on an even more paramount significance, and I hope the perspectives shared here serve as valuable considerations for the educational components of your upcoming events and meetings.

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