The recent IMEX America Conference in Las Vegas was a good glimpse into the future of the meetings industry. Meeting planners and executives from around the world shared their knowledge and inside information about where the meetings and events industry is headed for 2015.

Cvent and American Express co-sponsored a survey that was sent out to global meeting and event planners from all segments of the industry to get an idea of where they believed things were headed.

The bad news is that globally meetings are predicted┬áto remain flat, and budgets are expected to decrease. I know this isn’t what speakers want to hear. But if you know where things stand, at least you can learn how to work around it. As a speaker you’ll need to start bringing even more value to meeting planners, since they will be working with lower budgets, yet still trying to get the best speakers possible.

The outlook for North America looks slightly more positive. Though spending will remain flat, the number of actual meetings is expected to go up very slightly. The bright spot in all of this is that training and development is expected to rise. This goes along with the added value you’ll need to bring to the table. Motivational speaking isn’t going out of style anytime soon, but it has to come with good, solid, actionable content that can be delivered in multiple ways.

The biggest increase in spending comes from Central and South America. Training and development and spending are both expected to increase. If you haven’t thought about expanding your speaking business into this area, now may be a good time to start connecting with planners who work in this region.

The number of local meetings, especially in large cities, is expected to become more popular. This is one reason small business micro-sponsorship is more important than ever. And it’s one reason local speakers with their own sponsors will have a competitive advantage over other speakers.