Insights · September 2nd, 2023
My name is Nikolas Badminton and I’ve been a futurist speaker for the past 25+ years. I’ve been inspired by ideas of our incredible futures since I was very young. I wanted to share this article to help you to also become a futurist speaker. Read on.
Growing up as a Futurist
Between the ages of eight and nine, two pivotal things happened in my life.
The first was that my father bought me a book about the year 2000 and beyond – The Usborne Book of the Future. It was a mind-expanding, technological trip through time to the year 2000 and beyond. This was a child’s book that speculated on what the 2000s were going to be like.
Some of the predictions are remarkably close to things we have now, and others are not. All of them were about a single, modular future with hyperloops, moon colonies, wrist computers and so much more. I loved the suspension of disbelief and view of the future.
The second pivotal moment for me was the first time I used a home computer. It was a British Broadcasting Corporation Microcomputer System, also known as a BBC Micro. This was a magical and definitive moment. Having a computer became an absolute must-have in my life. Eventually, a couple of years later, my folks would buy me a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. School continued, university followed and a distinguished career in building technological solutions for clients in data, analytics and AI, then in advertising and SaaS platforms.
Then in 2010 I started running futures-focused planning sessions and community meetups. I also ran the pivotal Cyborg Camp YVR, Future Camp and Dark Futures. As I did more I had more recognition as a futurist speaker. In those days I focused on trends and wild ideas on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and many other technological areas.
These past few years have been incredible and I feel blessed to have worked with leadership at over 400 leading organizations at the frontline of futures, strategy and disruption – including NASA, Disney, Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, WM, JP Morgan, Verizon, VISA, TD Bank, American Express, BISCI, ISACA, Rolls Royce, Procter & Gamble, US Department of State, UK Home Office, United Nations, and many more.
This past year (2023) I released my book to acclaim – Facing Our Futures: How foresight, futures design and strategy creates prosperity and growth. It became a number one best selling book and has been named as JP Morgan Private bank’s “Next Gen Pick” for their prestigious 2023 Summer Reading List to guide new leaders to ignite curiosity and embrace futures thinking. It was also selected for the Next Big Idea Club.
So, you want to be a Futurist Speaker?
Becoming an influential futurist speaker requires a combination of expertise, communication skills, and strategic efforts to reach a wider audience. I’ve married my years of experience in technology, change management, organizational psychology and design with the discipline of foresight and futures thinking. Clients are inspired by the work I do and the drives me to work harder and do more.
“Nik is not just an incredible presenter. He grabs the audience’s attention and doesn’t let go. So many of our partners told us they had never examined the future of their business in such a thought provoking way – to expose our partners to something new is the highest value we can provide to our partners. Nik brought that value.”
Emile Perez, Client Computing Group, INTEL
I wanted to share an example of one of my keynotes on The Future of Technology at the Future Tense Conference in Zagreb, Croatia.
I’m so grateful to all of my clients. Reach out if you’d like to work with me.
Learn the craft of the Futurist Speaker
I wanted to share some tips on how to master your craft as a futurist speaker. There’s a lot to this – and that is essential – and everything works together. I’ve focused on this craft for many years and I am learning all of the time. Keep pushing and never stop.
- Master Your Subject Matter: In-depth knowledge about foresight methods, emerging trends, technologies, cultural shifts and societal changes is crucial. Continuously research and stay updated on the latest developments in various fields to maintain your expertise.
- Develop a Unique Perspective: Identify your niche within foresight and futures exploration. Whether it’s AI, sustainability, space exploration, or any other area, having a unique angle or perspective will help you stand out among other futurist speakers.
- Identify Mega-Trends and Think Outside the Box: Focus on identifying mega-trends that will shape the future. These are long-term shifts that have a broad and significant impact on society, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), water-energy-food nexus, climate change, biotechnology, and urbanization. Also, develop a knack for thinking creatively and exploring unconventional ideas. Futurist speakers are known for their ability to envision possibilities and challenges that others might not see.
- Build a Strong Brand: Develop a personal brand that reflects your expertise and style. Clearly define your values, mission, and the key messages you want to convey to your audience. Be authoritative and humble. Listen more than you speak.
- Hone Your Speaking Skills: Invest time in improving your public and private speaking, storytelling, and presentation skills. Attend workshops, join public speaking clubs, and practice regularly to engage and captivate your audience effectively. I work with the incredible team at Impact Eleven. Reach out if you’d like to discuss how that can help your speaking career.
- Craft Compelling Content: Develop thought-provoking and well-researched futures content that presents future signals, trends, scenarios, and insights. Use real-world examples and data to support your claims and engage your audience emotionally and intellectually.
- Use Multiple Platforms: Extend your reach by using various platforms such as social media, podcasts, blogs, webinars, and conferences. Each platform has its own audience, and diversifying your presence will help you connect with a wider range of people. I cannot emphasize this enough.
- Collaborate and Network: Engage with other experts, futurists, and influencers. Collaborations, joint projects, and networking can help you tap into different audiences and gain credibility within the futurist community.
- Use and Create Engaging Visuals: Incorporate visually appealing elements into your presentations. Infographics, videos, and interactive visuals can help break down complex ideas and keep your audience engaged.
- Practice Ethical Foresight: Approach your work with ethical considerations in mind. Address the potential social, environmental, and ethical implications of the trends you discuss, showing your commitment to responsible and conscious futurism.
- Engage with Your Audience: Foster a two-way dialogue with your audience. Encourage questions, discussions, and feedback, both during your presentations and through online platforms.
- Publish Foresight Thought Leadership: Write articles, whitepapers, or even a book that demonstrates your thought leadership in the field. Publishing authoritative content can establish you as a credible source of information.
- Tailor Your Message and Customize Keynotes: Always adapt your content to the needs and interests of your specific audience. Whether you’re speaking to business leaders, students, or policymakers, tailoring your message will make it more relevant and impactful. This is key.
- Listen, Measure and Adjust: Use analytics and feedback to measure the impact of your talks and content. Pay attention to what resonates most with your audience and make adjustments and develop new content accordingly.
- Stay Humble and Open-Minded: Acknowledge the uncertainties of predicting the future and remain open to new ideas and perspectives. Humility and a willingness to learn will enhance your credibility and influence.
Becoming an influential futurist speaker takes time and effort, but by consistently delivering valuable insights, engaging your audience, and building a strong personal brand, you can establish yourself as a trusted voice in shaping discussions about the future.
About Nikolas Badminton
Nikolas Badminton is a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, author, media producer, and executive advisor that has spoken to, and worked with, over 300 of the world’s most impactful organizations and governments.
He helps shape the visions that shape impactful organizations, trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments, and 200+ billion dollar investment funds.
Nikolas Badminton’s book Facing Our Futures: How Foresight, Futures Design and Strategy Creates Prosperity and Growth has been selected for 2023 J.P. Morgan Summer Reading List, and featured as the ‘Next Gen Pick’ to inform the next generation of thinkers that lead us into our futures.