2021 Breakdown: Topics & Speakers for Motivational Conferences

Megan Lupton
Digital Copywriter
person cutting paper that says "I can't"

2020 has been a year of health crises, civil movements and financial recessions, events that will shape the speaking topics and popular speakers of 2021. In comparison, next year will require significant rebuilding, for businesses and families alike. Following the impact of Covid-19 and subsequent national lockdowns, 2021 will be an opportunity to apply what we have learnt about mental resilience and change management to our lives.

Check out our ultimate list of speaking topics and the top speakers for 2021 conferences.

5 Popular Speaking Topics for 2021 Conferences

Check out our predictions of the most popular speaking topics for 2021:

Diversity & Inclusion

Following the civil rights protests of this year, diversity and inclusion will be the most popular speaking topic of 2021. Businesses are being held accountable for their racial and gender biases, evident through their ratio of races, genders and sexualities. Hiring a diverse workforce is only one requirement, an organisation should also guarantee an inclusive atmosphere, so staff of all backgrounds feel welcomed and valued.

Mental Resilience

From the Covid-19 pandemic to the financial pressures of a global recession, 2020 pushed people to their limits. For many, the impact has had a devastating toll on mental health, resulting in a 24% rise in workplace burnout symptoms. Business owners will be eager to improve their employee’s mental resilience, to arm them with the strength needed to overcome adversity and stay motivated.

Teamwork

Though the national lockdown successfully reduced the rate of Covid-19 infections, it also separated families, friends and co-workers. Teamwork will be a key topic of 2021 conferences, as business owners will be eager to rebuild team cohesion, ultimately improving employee performance. In a world reeling from separation, team building conferences will spark unity and community.

Change Management

No one could have predicted the unprecedented events of 2020. Looking to the future, business owners and conference organisers will certainly value the topic of change management, to better preparing audiences for future challenges. With workplaces adapting to a post-lockdown world, this topic will help staff adjust to the “new norm”, including remote working and virtual operations.

Marginal Gains

If 2020 has taught the world anything, it is to value the small victories in life. From landing another sale to earning a positive testimonial, businesses will employ the marginal gains philosophy to remotivate their staff. A valuable factor of overcoming adversity, 2021 conferences will likely empower audiences, and celebrate how far people have come.

Top Motivational Speakers for 2021

Below, we explore our top conference speakers for 2021, who we predict will be in high demand from clients and event organisers.

Jake & Hannah Graf

Diversity & Inclusion Speakers

Widely considered to be the UK’s transgender power couple, Jake and Hannah Graf are rewriting the rule book on love, marriage and parenthood. In 2015, they publicly shared their gender transitions, to normalise transgender experiences and improve representation. The pair tour the speaking circuit with their important message and 2021 mission - to increase inclusion in the workplace.

“Not only are Jake and Hannah charismatic, passionate, and informed speakers, but Jake's films generated a lot of important discussion and questions from our audience. Their honesty around transition and candid answers to questions was endearing, and we have had only positive feedback from our event.”

- Alexandra D’Sa, Business Analyst, Citi

 

Mandy Hickson

Mental Resilience Speaker

Mandy Hickson’s career is a story of two halves. To begin with, she faced great disappointment when she failed her flying RAF flying aptitude test multiple times, but with determination, Mandy later became the second female pilot to fly a Tornado GR4 on the frontline. Discussed in her 2020 book, An Officer, Not a Gentleman, Mandy fought to succeed in a male-dominated environment, a feat that shaped her as a mental resilience speaker.

“Mandy is a fantastic public speaker. She is both inspirational and extremely well prepared. Her ability to relate her own experience working under extreme pressure and in highly performing teams to everyday situations is most impressive. She tops it all with a wonderful sense of humour and great modesty. Listening to her talking about the many challenges that she has successfully overcome should be compulsory for all girls!”

- Miriam Gonzalez, Partner Dechert LLP, International Law Firm

 

Ollie Ollerton

Teamwork Speaker

Star of SAS: Who Dares Wins and former UK Special Forces serviceperson, Ollie Ollerton has witnessed first-hand the importance of teamwork during periods of stress. While fighting on the frontlines, he survived thanks to the strength and support of his team, a sentiment that he now communicates to audiences. At events, Ollie teaches guests how to harness the power of a team unit to manage stress and pressure.

“Just a quick note to say many thanks to you and to Ollie for helping us out with last night’s Business Awards. Ollie was great and very well received. I bought him a large glass of red afterwards and then didn’t see him again as he was very popular with those who’d attended! I’ll assume he survived! Cheers and thanks again.”

- Neil Hodgkinson, Hull Daily Mail

 

Yuval Dvir

Change Management Speaker

Yuval Dvir is credited with turning some of the most recognisable global brands around, by transforming their workplace culture. Notably, he was called upon by Skype to streamline their service and utilise emerging technologies. Yuval successfully transformed Skype into the dominant communications service it is today. Hand in hand with corporate turnaround is change management, which prepares employees for new processes and unexpected hardships in business.

Speaking Topics:

  • Transformational Leadership
  • Customer Experience
  • Business Transformation

 

Dave Brailsford

Marginal Gains Speaker

Best known as the coach and performance director of British Cycling, Dave Brailsford is the mastermind behind the marginal gains theory. Dave successfully transformed the team into the multiple Gold medal winners we recognise today, taking them from last to first place. His secret? The ideology that small improvements lead to big rewards. Dave applies this philosophy to conferences and business teams, to instil a winning mindset in audiences.

Speaking Topics:

  • British Cycling
  • Marginal Gains Philosophy
  • Performance Psychology

 

Bonus: Webinar Speakers

In 2020, the events industry changed forever. When in-person functions came to a grinding halt, the humble webinar took centre stage – and it is certainly here to stay. Accessible and cost-effective, online events bridge the geographical gap to bring audiences of all backgrounds together. This makes them essential for businesses whose staff are working from home, and wish to maintain motivation and team cohesion.

Some of our favourite webinar speakers for 2021 include Ken Segall, Akala and Ruby Wax, who have each adapted their speeches to suit the online format. Our virtual speakers truly are the best in the business. Engaging and educational in equal measure, they leave audiences with a better understanding of their own potential.

Never organised a webinar before? Make sure to read our ultimate guide to hiring a webinar speaker, to learn more!

How to Book a Speaker

To book a speaker for your conference, please call us on 0207 0787 876 or fill in our contact form.

You can also browse our impressive selection of motivational speakers and keynote speakers for hire in 2021, to read their testimonials, watch videos of them speaking and discover their career highlights.

Megan Lupton
Digital Copywriter

Having completed a Masters in Creative Writing, Megan is found regularly contributing to the company blog, where she discusses everything from the latest socio-political news stories to self-improvement. Joining The Motivational Speakers Agency in 2019, Megan is also responsible for a variety of creative content, like contributing to the online presence of those we represent across the website.

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