Do you need a keynote motivational speaker to inspire your team or motivate event attendees? Whether you’re hosting an event or want to motivate your current team, a motivational speaker can tell stories, share their own experiences, pass on life lessons, give actionable advice, and inspire audiences. We compiled a list of the best motivational speakers based on experience, popularity, and the inspiration they have to offer.
We’ve left off some of the more obvious (and impossible to book!) celebrity options, such as Oprah, Tony Robbins, Beyonce, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These stars may be popular, but they are very difficult to book without the right connections.
Why Hire a Top Motivational Speaker?
Good motivational speakers can spark invaluable motivation across a team or in individuals. They are skilled at sharing stories that motivate others to change their own lives, whether that be about productivity, happiness, health, finance, pursuing your dreams, or starting a business.
Top inspirational speakers engage with audiences and are captivating to watch or listen to. They know how to keep the attention of a crowd, and they know what sound bites of wisdom will resonate with those around them.
- Inspire people to take action
- Tell stories based on past experiences
- Share life lessons
- Engage with audiences
- Provide actionable strategies
- Boost team morale
Hiring a motivational speaker isn’t just for teams that are lacking motivation. A team that’s already motivated is more likely to engage from the start, and they will be able to use the inspiration and actionable advice they glean straight away, both in their professional and personal lives.
11 of the Best Motivational Speakers to Inspire Your Workplace
Below is a list of some of the world’s top motivational speakers. They are highly sought-after and can come at a steep price, but their words have inspired and motivated thousands of entrepreneurs, leaders, individuals, and business teams. Our list of motivational speakers is in alphabetical order by last name.
1. Shawn Achor
Shawn Achor is one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He’s lectured or worked with Fortune 100 companies, the NFL, the NBA, the Pentagon, and the White House. His TED talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, has over 13 million views, and he’s the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential.
Shawn can speak about a range of topics, including The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance, The Ripple Effect: How to Make Positive Change Easier, Resilient Optimism: Restoring a Culture of Confidence, and much more.
2. Lisa Bodell
Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of FutureThink and the bestselling author of Kill the Company and Why Simple Wins. Her talks offer a roadmap to get rid of the kind of workplace complexity that kills an organization’s ability to be agile, fast, and innovative. She believes organizations need to embrace simplicity as a basic operating principle.
Lisa’s speech topics include Killing Complexity: Create a Culture of Simplification & Get to the Work that Matters, and Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution.
3. Brené Brown
Dr. Brené Brown is a world-renowned research professor at the University of Houston. She has spent 20 years studying courage, shame, vulnerability, and empathy, and she is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, including Dare to Lead and Rising Strong. Her famous TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is among the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 50 million views.
4. Les Brown
Les Brown is a famous motivational speaker and leading authority on achievement who has spoken to audiences all around the world. He works with Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners, as well as non-profit and community leaders from all walks of life who want to expand opportunity.
5. Seth Godin
Seth Godin is known as a marketing pioneer, Internet expert, and public relations guru. He encourages people to reject conformity and seek new and innovative solutions to the challenges of the technological age. Seth utilizes the experience he gained from founding and selling his company Yoyodyne to Yahoo, as well as his experience as Vice President of Direct Marketing for Yahoo, to focus on the creative thinking businesses must employ to deliver a stellar product or service.
He knows how ideas spread and the value of giving customers respect, which is exactly what he imparts to his audiences. Seth has written 20 bestselling books, including The Dip and This is Marketing. In 2013, Seth was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he was also inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
6. Robert Kiyosaki
Robert Kiyosaki is the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the longest running bestseller on all four lists that report to Publisher’s Weekly, including The New York Times, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He’s also an investor, entrepreneur, and educator.
His inspiring ideas about money and investment challenge conventional wisdom and have changed the way millions of people invest, save, and consider their money. He believes “conventional advice” like getting a good job, saving up, and investing long-term is inherently flawed, which is why he shares a new approach.
7. Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is a world-renowned speaker on leadership and probably best known for popularizing the concept of Why with this TED talk, the second most watched of all time on TED.com. He’s also the bestselling author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
Simon teaches organizations and leaders how to inspire people. His unconventional and innovative ideas about business and leadership have attracted international attention, earning him invitations to speak with a number of different organizations, including Disney, Pfizer, the United States Congress, and the United Nations.
8. Amy Purdy
Amy Purdy is a highly experienced and requested professional speaker. After losing both of her legs below the knee at age 19, she managed to become the top-ranked adaptive snowboarder in the US, a three-time World Cup Para-Snowboard winner, and the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist.
Her TED talk, Living Beyond Limits, was so successful that it is distributed to incoming TED speakers as the #1 recommended sample presentation. She is an in demand speaker for Fortune 500 companies, organizations, special events, corporate retreats, and more.
9. Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and investor, a five-time New York Times bestselling author, Chairman of VaynerX, CEO of VaynerMedia, and one of the most sought-after public speakers. His podcast, The GaryVee Audio Experience, is ranked among the top podcasts globally.
Gary helps up-and-coming entrepreneurs build a personal brand. His talks also cover the principles of communication, marketing, and media.
Funny Motivational Speakers
Sometimes the best inspiration and motivation comes with a good dose of humor. Funny motivational speakers provide similar wisdom and advice, but they package it with jokes to keep audiences engaged and the talk memorable.
10. Steve Rizzo
Who says motivational speakers can’t be funny? Steve Rizzo is a motivational keynote speaker who likes to pepper his wisdom with a little humor. That said, his Common Sense Success Strategies challenge his audiences to shift their way of thinking to infuse their lives with greater joy and enthusiasm, leading to increased productivity and new levels of success.
Steve has a number of different keynote topics available to choose from, including Optimism in Challenging Times, Attitude Adjustment, Change Management, and more.
11. Janelle Shane
Janelle Shane is a top virtual keynote speaker. She’s also an AI humor blogger and one of Fast Company’s 100 most creative people in business. Janelle’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, Popular Science, All Things Considered, and Slate, and she’s also a 2019 TED fellow.
Her keynotes describe the features of AI in engaging and intriguing ways, giving audiences an inside look at the minds of the algorithms that run our world. Janelle makes artificial intelligence and machine learning both accessible and entertaining.
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