If you’re wondering about hiring David Zach to be your next speaker, here are a few considerations:
1. You want credentials.
Dave earned a master’s degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston. (That’s a real degree from a real university!) If you’re going to position a Futurist on the program, it’s important for your audience to know he’s not just making this stuff up. With over 1500 keynote talks so far, he’s got a track record that’s easy to search and find. For instance, here’s a rather extensive list of previous clients.
2. You want funny.
Though he will not market himself as a humorist, audience members always marvel at how they expected a dry and statistical talk from a futurist, and got one where they were laughing continually — with the humor always making a point and always holding their attention. Dave knows that if you can laugh at the future, it’s not as threatening, so people can be learning instead of worrying.
3. You want serious.
One minute they’re laughing and in the next, you can hear a pin drop. Weaving fascinating innovations with profound implications, those who hear Dave find themselves deep in thought one moment and then engaged in some of the best conversations they’ve had in years. This makes for memorable meetings and a good reason to have Dave open your event.
4. You want connections, not platitudes.
His talks are never canned. He has a variety of themes which he uses to weave together facts, issues and trends that are pointed in towards the concerns of your audience. Because Dave has spoken to so many different industries and is continually reading to keep up with both trends and traditions, the talks connect to not just an audience’s work, they also connect to day-to-day life and concerns.
5. You don’t want predictions.
No, really. You don’t want predictions. Let’s explore this one with a bit of depth. Many so-called Futurists will pile on statistics with exact forecasts of how to win the future. When you hear a prediction, always ask: “Is there a profit motive behind the prophet motive? If we do what they say, do they get rich or gain power?” If they’re selling you very seductive messages of “What to Think” about the future, you’re really being sold (yet again) a new form of snake oil. In case you hadn’t noticed, far too many predictions have led us into this “fog of progress” where uncertain grows with each seductive new plan. But as has been said, the first casualty in a battle is the plan. We should have eventually learned that planning is more important than any plan.
The sort of Futurist who can really bring value to your audience is one who helps them understand “How to Think” about the future; and how to think more clearly about planning. For instance, what’s the balance between change and continuity? For too long we’ve all been told to be Change Agents, but shouldn’t there be some attention given towards being Agents of Tradition? If everything changes, that’s is essentially saying that we have learned nothing – and all the sacrifices from the past were wasted. It should be clear by now that not all change is progress and sometimes the most radical thing one can do, in the midst of the fog, is to not change. In a time of tumultuous change, the first task is not to predict the next change, it is to find the things that don’t change or shouldn’t change. Find your foundations first, then build the changes upon that.
6. You want engagement.
Dave doesn’t go to speaker conventions or Futurist meetings. He often attends the meetings he speaks at and makes an effort to figure out how all the thinking that’s going on in each those different industries can be connected into yours. Sometimes it’s the conversations that he has off the stage that people appreciate the most. Dave knows how to think into other boxes.
7. You want stage presence.
It’s more than just being on stage, it’s knowing how to hold an audience so they’ll remember what was said and tell others. It’s about capturing imagination and taking people on a fascinating journey into the future and change the way they see things. It’s about an unexpected delight in the form of a talk that connects the past to the future and all that we care about right now.
8. He’ll say thank you.
Audience members will often comment about how obvious it is that Dave loves what he does. They also say he’s down to earth, easy to work with and is genuinely interested in sharing his time and his attention. He’s grateful to have the chance to work with you and be able to entertain, educate and learn from your industry, your topics, your audience.