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Some say each year is a blank canvas. But when it comes to predicting industry trends and audiences’ interests, this year’s canvas already has an outline — it’s just waiting to be filled in. As event industry professionals, staying up to date on the latest trends can help us paint a clearer picture of what will be the emerging speaking topics for 2022.

Right now, there are a few clear standouts. Social media, the news cycle, and the internet as a whole is abuzz around modern media, the climate crisis, politics, and financial technologies. Read on to get up to speed on the latest developments, and meet speakers who will be leading the dialogue around these issues.

Modern media are shaping the way we interact online

New ways for audiences to consume content, communicate with others, and connect with online communities are emerging at a pace we’ve never seen before, and audiences’ preferences are constantly shifting and evolving in light of so many choices. From the rise of the Metaverse and its potential impact on events to the surge in podcasting and video content, many are leveraging technology to make an innovative and memorable experience for others.

The tech industry has been working on building robust virtual worlds for decades, but until recent years, the bulk of these efforts have been undertaken in the name of selling video games. Thanks in large part to a global pandemic that forced so many to move operations online, businesses are waking up to the full potential of technologies like immersive online experiences, virtual reality, and augmented reality. 

Live virtual concerts hosted within Fortnite, Nike’s new digital space with Roblox, and Facebook’s recent rebrand centered around the metaverse are all real-world indicators that these modern media will become an even bigger part of our lives in 2022. These leading technology futurists and media experts speak on the topics of the metaverse, virtual reality, and augmented reality and can explain the impact these technologies may have on all of us.

The climate crisis and sustainability are getting more relevant each year

The one thing you have in common with every single human being who has ever lived? Earth is your home. 

According to an overwhelming scientific consensus, that home faces a dire threat. That’s why it’s no surprise that the climate crisis has been front and center in global politics, news, advertising, advocacy — everywhere. As we leave behind a 2021 that saw wildfires, record-breaking heatwaves, catastrophic floods, and other ominous signs that our planet is in danger, the topic of climate change is only going to garner more attention in 2022.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Climate change activists of all ages and nationalities are raising awareness on a global scale and pressing policymakers to take direct action. The conversations spurred by their efforts bring some hope for meaningful change. 

Event producers have the chance to empower this crucial discussion in 2022, as audiences look for answers around what’s being done to address the climate crisis and get our world closer to net-zero carbon emissions.

Americans are more politically divided than ever, but also more engaged

One of the most common and perhaps overused decrees you’ll find on social media and in traditional media is that “Americans are more divided than ever before.” While not a particularly productive point, research certainly seems to support its accuracy. One positive byproduct of this division is that many citizens who would have shrugged their shoulders about politics a few years ago are now fully engaged when it comes to public policy and civic duty.

National issues like climate change, voting rights, and public health policy are garnering so much attention that presidential and congressional press conferences and Supreme Court decisions are consistently trending on social media, right alongside major sports outcomes and spoilers from the most popular TV shows.

Bottom line: people are invested in politics, regardless of ideologies.

The 2022 midterm elections are right around the corner. Debates are raging around hot-button issues like voting rights and racial justice. Potentially transformational legal decisions are on the horizon, and  Americans are looking for non-partisan, trustworthy, knowledgeable political analysts and futurists who can give them the facts on all the inner workings of government.

Financial and technological literacy go hand in hand in 2022

Going into 2022, two emerging technological trends that seem to be just as universally confusing as they are impactful are blockchain and NFTs. So what do they mean, and why are they important?

Blockchain is essentially a digital ledger that stores data. It’s unique when compared to conventional databases because it’s totally decentralized and involves a “chain” made up of individual “blocks” of data. According to experts, blockchain is more secure and less prone to errors than traditional means of storing data.

Blockchain technology is what makes NFTs possible, another trending financial technology that has left some scratching their heads. Think of NFTs like you would a rare baseball trading card. In the digital world, NFTs — non-fungible tokens — have value because their blockchains store extra data that make them “completely unique,” one of a kind. At the moment, NFTs are mostly taking the form of digital art — animations, photos, and more — but the possibilities are limitless.

Understanding these two speaking topics is key to understanding what’s happening in finance going into 2022. As more and more businesses embrace blockchain-backed tech, like NFTs and cryptocurrencies, audiences will look to blockchain experts to put these complicated concepts into more understandable terms. Meanwhile, concerns around its energy usage and environmental impact are also growing. 

These important speaking topics are ready for you 

Staying on top of the latest trends and technologies is not an easy task, but an important one to put together relevant events that resonate. Just as important, however, is finding the perfect speaking topics and speakers who can connect with your unique target audience and share engaging and insightful messages. That’s why we happily do the work for you. For 20 years, AAE has partnered with thousands of satisfied clients to produce unforgettable events.

Find out how we can elevate your next event.