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How to Hire the Right Keynote Speaker for Your Next Event

How to Hire the Right Keynote Speaker for Your Next Event

A great keynote address stirs an audience, taking attendees from disinterested to engaged. Just as importantly, the right keynote address adds unity and cohesion to your event. Hiring the wrong speaker can leave your audience flat or even confused.

Hiring the right motivational speaker for your corporate or fundraising event is critical to overall event success. While every portion of the day will be remembered, the perfect keynote address can tie everything together into a single and inspiring message. A lot rides on finding the right person. How do you go about hiring a speaker who will make your event both memorable and successful?

Start with the theme of your event.

Event planning can be complicated, and it’s easy to get lost in details. You need to plan everything from breakout sessions to catering. Finding the right keynote speaker means taking a step back from those planning details and asking yourself simple questions:

  • What is this event about thematically?
  • What do I want my audience to come away with in both the long and short term?
  • Are there gaps in my event plan that need to be addressed?

Hiring the best motivational speaker provides an opportunity to refocus energy and enthusiasm while providing a clear theme for your company event.

Keep your audience in mind.

Examine your invited audience. Will board members be in attendance? Are IT professionals part of the group who will listen? Is the public invited? Because even if you want to impress the CEO, they will be looking to the reactions of your general staff in attendance to gauge success.

Crowd dynamics are far different than normal workplace dynamics. Hierarchies of rank break down. If a particular message gets your work crew or marketing staff laughing or on its feet, others of all ranks will follow. Consider who can speak broadly enough to your entire audience and relate best to them. Demographics such as age and ethnicity can play roles, too. Find someone who will appeal to your audience universally.

Research the best motivational speakers available.

Resources such as the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau and SpeakInc make finding the right motivational keynote speaker easier. Rather than searching the entire internet from scratch, these sites have assembled the top professional speakers and provide biographical data. With simple searches by interest and industry, you can find speakers who will motivate your audience and make your event come to life. Best of all, they filter out the nonprofessionals and no-shows who can throw your event off track.

From here, your job is not only easier but fun, too! Investigate your top few choices. Visit their websites. Learn not only what they say to their audiences, but how they say it. Do you want humor, or a more solemn event? Watch a few of their TEDx Talks or listen to their podcasts to ensure they hit not only the right content but tone.

Once confident in your short list, simply return to the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau or other resource and check for the availability of your desired keynote speaker. Their booking agents will make the arrangements easy. More importantly, you’ll hire a qualified speaker you can depend on for your corporate, fundraising or public event.

Photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock 

7 Best Social Media Speakers for Your Keynote Address

7 Best Social Media Speakers for Your Keynote Address

Who makes a great social media keynote speaker? When finding the right speaker for your marketing event, it is important to ask yourself several questions. These include:

  • Does the speaker know social media at the technical level including corporate ownership and development?
  • Do they use social media effectively in their own marketing and outreach?
  • Have they expressed themselves effectively through other media such as publishing?
  • Do they bring some fresh angle or experience to the industry?
  • Are they performative enough to provide a keynote address that is engaging?

To boil this list down to only the 10 best social media speakers, we chose those who brilliantly combine the above elements. The following list also chooses from speakers who exemplify the diversity of subfield specialties within the industry.

Mari Smith

A prolific author and highly in-demand speaker, Mari Smith may be the world’s leading expert on marketing with Facebook. Though accomplished across social media platforms, this focus adds to her direct, concise style. Attendees at her classes and speaking engagements will come away with a list of impactful takeaways to use in driving their social media campaigns. Her expertise as a brand ambassador and leading influencer makes her one of the most trusted experts in the field.

Erin King 

Erin King excels in digital persuasion. This expertise encompasses not only sales, marketing and brand development, but even the growing need to communicate effectively in the emerging hybrid workplace. A successful three-time entrepreneur, her Highlight with Erin King podcast provides a sample of her engaging, energetic style as an international keynote speaker. From social media marketing and selling to live streaming and content hacks, Erin King can motivate your team and help you guide it to the next level.

Erik Qualman

Best-selling author Erik Qualman has spoken in more than 55 countries. Named a Top Digital Influencer by Forbes, he has delivered exhilarating and informative keynotes for companies as diverse as Sony, Raytheon and Starbucks. He has also spoken at more than 200 universities, and his background includes serving as a sitting professor at MIT and edX at Harvard. His technological expertise served him well in founding Equalman Studios which has produced projects for companies including Disney, CompuCom and IBM. You don’t want to miss him, and he’s easy to spot with his iconic, neon green eyeglasses.

Michelle Poler 

Digital media offers an abundance of tools for developing and selling your brand. But whether live streaming or attempting to develop your Instagram brand, it’s often not technical knowledge that holds your marketing team back. It’s their uncertainty, introversion or general discomfort with putting themselves out there. Michelle Poler can help. Author of Hello Fears: Crush Your Comfort Zone and Become Who You’re Meant to Be, this dynamic and highly seasoned speaker will inspire your listeners while challenging them to overcome self-defeating fears.

Shama Hyder

As CEO of Zen Media, Shama Hyder has taken global, digital marketing to the next level for her clients including Chase for Business, AdRoll, ATB Ventures and NASA. Referred to as the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany, she brings her leadership skills and authentic expertise in digital marketing to every keynote address. Businessweek named her among its “Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25” in 2009, and she has authored best-sellers such as Social Media Marketing 2020 and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age.

Lucy Bloom

Professional speaker Lucy Bloom has brought her electrifying brand of humor, business experience and social media knowledge to as many as 200,000 viewers per month. She served as CEO of two charitable organizations, Sunrise Cambodia and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, with transformative results. Her leadership experience and expertise in social media that appeals broadly through its humanity has made her a highly sought consultant for fundraising and progressive causes worldwide.

Amy Jo Martin

Motivational keynote speaker Amy Jo Martin understands the dynamic world of social media. Her book Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate outlines the strategies she used in building her own company, Renegade Global. A prolific podcaster, she is also an influential and highly sought-after public speaker. Some of her current topics include: “Renegades Write the Rules,” “Humanize to Monetize,” “There’s No Finish Line to Innovation” and “Humans Connect with Humans (Not Logos).” While an engaging entertainer who will capture and hold your audience’s attention, her strategies are tactical, actionable and transformative.

Guy Kawasaki

No social media keynote speaker list for the past decade can be complete without Guy Kawasaki. Known for popularizing the notion of secular evangelism, he has delivered keynote addresses for Apple, Nike, Gartner, Audi, Google and many other major brands. Social media remains one of his most popular topics, drawing from his experience in innovation, transformation and technical expertise. Now serving as Chief Evangelist for Canva, Kawasaki has authored numerous books considered essential reading in the industry including The Art of Social Media and Rules for Revolutionaries.

Photo courtesy of Erin King 

Top 10 Motivational Speaker of All Time

Top 10 Motivational Speaker of All Time

Motivational speakers have moved audiences for millenia. But the digital era has created a golden age of public speakers never seen before.

When the first Ted Talks were posted online in 2006, relatively few people had heard of them. Within just 3 months, they reached more than a million viewers. Speaker websites, social media and easier means of hiring keynote speakers provided new and exciting platforms for top talent. Let’s pay tribute to 10 of the best from this exciting and ongoing era.

Deepak Chopra

No professional speaker’s name is more synonymous with motivation than Deepak Chopra. Associated with New Age idealism, his holistic, metaphysical worldview has inspired millions with nearly 100 published books including The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential. A highly in-demand personality to this day, he has earned the Toastmasters International Top Five Outstanding Speakers award as well as a Carnegie award for great immigrants.

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins became a best-selling author of both The High 5 Habit and The 5 Second Rule for a reason. It’s in her uncanny ability to bring the same personal, uplifting and useful advice to print and audio as she brings to her keynote addresses. The talk show host offers a practical, science-based approach to her motivational speeches, serving clinical professionals as well as top brands such as JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft. When it comes to inspiring organizational transformation, Robbins earns her place among the top motivational speakers of all time.

Bob Proctor

Considered by many an early architect of the modern motivational speaking movement, Bob Proctor was also a renowned self-help author. He believed that positive self-image plays a critical role in success. This view carried over into his numerous books including The Secret Science of Getting Rich and Change Your Paradigm, Change Your Life. He became one of the most in-demand speakers for corporate seminars across North America. Canadian-born Proctor passed away in 2022 at age 87, but his influence will last for generations.

Anne Grady

Resilience expert Anne Grady takes a scientific and compassionate approach to helping others stay strong and motivated. A two-time TEDx speaker, Grady has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as nonprofits to build resilience and improve performance among managers and teams. Her speaking style flawlessly interweaves humor, inspiration and hard truths, making this Mind over Moment author one of the most truly inspiring motivational speakers available today.

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you use Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re probably familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk. This serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker earned his place as a master of social media and one of the most influential personalities across platforms. A five-time best-selling author, his works include Twelve and a Half and Crushing It! This prolific and dynamic speaker has also been named by BusinessWeek as one of the 20 people every entrepreneur should follow.

Daymond John

Staying motivated during tough times challenges even the top business leaders. Motivational speaker, entrepreneur and television personality Daymond John excels at keeping you focused and on track. This Shark Tank host founded and serves as CEO of The Shark Group, a brand management and consulting firm. His own early business challenges inform his keynote address with a stated goal to “help you avoid making the same costly mistakes that I’ve made.” John has also authored numerous books to keep you on track including Rise and Grind and The Brand Within.

Zig Ziglar

Prior to his passing in 2015, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar spoke at events alongside presidents and prime ministers. He also served as a sales coach and entrepreneur, bringing a deeply-rooted ethical take to his business approach. One of the most-quoted keynote speakers of all time, his religious roots played out in his caring for others. His more than 30 published books include Sell Your Way to the Top and Goals: How to Get the Most Out of Your Life.

Echkhart Tolle

Profundity does not need to be complicated. Eckhart Tolle provides a simple yet enlightening keynote experience, guiding listeners to lead a more fulfilled life through inner peace. A highly sought speaker worldwide, he can reach audiences in German and Spanish as well as in English. He also authored the best-seller The Power of Now and A New Earth, both of which are renowned for their spiritually-driven motivational influence.

Les Brown

Former state congressperson of Ohio Les Brown implores his audiences to stop and tell themselves, “I have greatness within me.” Reaching audiences of up to 80,000, he also coaches Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners and not-for-profit companies with his positive message of personal success and corporate growth. He has a particular gift for finding commonalities among us, allowing him to reach audiences regardless of background or nationality. His best-selling books include You’ve Got to Be Hungry and The Greatness Within You.

Karen M. Allen

No motivational speaker list is complete without 100% Human™ movement founder Karen M. Allen. This relative newcomer has come in hot with a client list that includes Google, Travelers Insurance, the Women’s Foodservice Forum and many more. A favorite among millennial audiences as well as more seasoned business leaders, her keynote addresses focus on equipping individuals to develop and nurture healthier mindsets for both personal and professional growth.

Photo by G Holland/Shutterstock 

Why Hire a Motivational Speaker?

Why Hire a Motivational Speaker?

Hiring a motivational speaker for your company requires investment. That means the cost of planning, coordination, space and time away from the job for your employees.

However, hiring the best thought leader available provides lasting value for the company. A 2016 study of employee engagement found that up to 70% of employees are disengaged at work. Can booking a thought leadership speaker help reinvigorate your team? With employee turnover rates reaching new highs, there’s never been a better time to hire a motivational speaker. Here’s why.

Fresh perspectives increase company innovation.

Companies rely on consistency and processes by necessity. Complex processes are needed for planning and reliable delivery of products and services.

Yet maturing companies also face the danger of falling into hardened systems that lack innovation. The top keynote speakers have an understanding of your industry, but they also understand people. They motivate both individuals and teams to look at their workday and relationships with fresh eyes. That is, they widen an employee’s perspective in ways that lead to company innovation and progress.

It can enhance team unity and enthusiasm.

Corporate thought leaders understand what motivates individual employees and drives them to success. Just as importantly, they understand team dynamics. A single employee may feel energized at a company event upon hearing a quality keynote speaker, but that enthusiasm will grow tenfold when they see fellow co-workers sharing in that excitement.

Every manager knows that employees can bond either negatively or positively. Negative bonding centers around complaints or dissatisfactions which are either internal or external. Positive bonding occurs when a team shares in excitement and enthusiasm for mutual growth within the company. Inspirational people provide that positive sense of exuberance and empowerment.

Employees experience a break from routine and time to bond.

No matter how interesting or exciting work may be, it can become a grind. Work breaks are often spent in solitude or running errands. Vacation usually means time away from work—and from fellow employees.

Hiring a motivational speaker for an event provides a break from the ordinary workday. Nearly every employee looks forward to the opportunity. Although these events are structured, employees often see them as a welcome break from the usual. Just as importantly, events featuring top public speakers provide an opportunity for co-workers and teams to meet in ways they normally wouldn’t. Best of all, they will meet under highly positive circumstances.

Booking a motivational speaker shows your employees you are invested in them.

A 2012 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 93% of employees who felt valued report they are motivated to do their best work. Compare that statistic to only 33% who felt undervalued reporting similar motivation.

By booking a thought leader or celebrity speaker, you send a clear signal to your employees:  you are invested in them not only in the present, but for their future growth in the company.

Plan ahead with a post-speaker strategy.

Thought leadership speakers create enthusiasm in the workplace. They enhance creativity, team cohesiveness and help your employees feel valued. That is, true to the purpose, your employees will come back feeling motivated.

Yet that exuberance won’t last forever without support. Be sure to make the most out of your employees’ renewed enthusiasm. Schedule post-speaker team meetings both within and across teams, as well as one-on-one. Consider surveys with open-ended questions to learn how the motivational speaker enhanced your employees’ individual outlooks. Plan ahead, and be ready to tap into that renewed energy.

Photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

7 Best Professional Speaker Websites

7 Best Professional Speaker Websites

Hiring the best professional speaker available in your area requires research. You will pour over websites, TEDx talks and more to find a public speaker who will truly inspire your audience and ignite your event. But a great speaker’s website gives you more than biographical data, sample videos and a list of publications.

Free content such as actionable advice, informational e-guides and helpful worksheets let you know that the keynote speaker is passionate about spreading their message. From there, you can be assured that the speaker’s enthusiasm will carry over into your corporate or fundraising event. With that in mind, let’s look at ten of the best professional speaker websites available today.

Cy Wakeman

Are you ready to restore sanity to the workplace? Cy Wakeman wrote the book on it! As best-selling author of Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, and Restore Sanity to the Workplace, Wakeman offers the same enthusiasm and knowledge you find in her keynote addresses on her website. Her YouTube vlogs are among the most interesting in the industry with special guests, travel and the great takeaways that can only come from Wakeman. On top of that, her resources area contains one of the largest and most practical libraries of free tools available. She provides worksheets, exercises and even useful templates for business, all in ready to download and easy to use PDFs.

Daymond John

Entrepreneur, public speaker and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, Daymond John knows brand marketing strategies. One strategy is to pull people in with a smile, and then to hold them there with great information. This shines through on his website with an abundance of useful, free to download resources. These resources address important topics such as effective strategies for goal-setting, email and social media campaigns and sales. John even currently provides free access to several of his premium online courses.

Anne Grady

Global resilience expert and motivational speaker Anne Grady built her website around the kind of information you need for your business, your employees and for yourself. That is, building and maintaining utmost resilience. Grady’s authenticity and humor shine through in the huge library of YouTube videos she shares on her site. While most speakers provide a blog on their sites, hers stands out for its direct, actionable advice. Finally, this Mind Over Moment author goes another step above and beyond by offering a library of book recommendations. The authors include those who have influenced Grady and will help build your business output, too.

Rory Vaden

If you are considering hiring a world-renowned business speaker, New York Times best-selling author Rory Vaden makes it easy for you to get to know him. His easy to navigate website provides a video introduction that quickly encapsulates his leading work in defeating procrastination and achieving results. What truly makes his website stand out is the wealth of free and useful information Vaden makes available. You will find numerous free trainings including “Trends in Personal Branding Research Study,” “Multiply Your Time,” “The Influential Leader” and more. Plus, his data-rich blog provides the best of all worlds with both articles and videos covering topics of current relevance to business leaders, managers and others.

Erin King

As a digital marketing and social media expert, it’s no surprise Erin King makes our top professional speaker website list. The moment you land at her home page, she offers a free “Perfect Post” cheat sheet you wished you never lived without. This You’re Kind of a Big Deal best-selling author also provides free blogs, a helpful podcast and a simple form for booking. On top of that, her site is colorful, easy to read on mobile and uplifting at every turn. While you’re there, be sure to check out her courses. For a reasonable fee, she provides lifetime access to all her social media spas plus other perks.

Lee Marie Jacobs

Lee Marie Jacobs specializes in yoga, nutrition and holistic well-being. But along with her degree in biomedical toxicology, she also attained an MBA and is a master of entrepreneurialism and sustainable leadership. Her amazing website provides plenty of free tools to improve your life, proving that this highly sought public speaker truly cares about her audience. Her health and well-being blog, “Auric Living,” features ongoing guest experts, numerous videos and a podcast. Best of all, choosing “Tools” from her menu takes you to Insight Timer, a free app featuring 130,000 guided meditations. 

Jay Shetty

Think Like a Monk best-selling author Jay Shetty knows marketing, and his website reflects the best of it. This keynote speaker and entrepreneur provides you with a very useful and surprisingly detailed business readiness assessment upon completing a simple form. He also offers a free webinar for budding entrepreneurs called “Learn 12 Steps to Turn Your Passion into a Business.” A renowned public speaker and coach, Jay Shetty also provides one of the most fun and informative podcasts around, featuring celebrity guests who talk candidly about the ins and outs of success in branding and entrepreneurship.

Photo courtesy of Jay Shetty

Top Health and Fitness Speakers to Book for Your Next Event
Health & Wellness

Top Health and Fitness Speakers to Book for Your Next Event

Booking health and fitness keynote speakers has grown in popularity among top companies. The benefits are substantial. On the surface, employees may become inspired to adopt healthier lifestyles. And a healthier workforce provides numerous cost benefits, including higher overall productivity.

But beneath the service, health and fitness motivational speakers bring even greater outcomes. Their personal stories of overcoming adversity inspire all of us. Plus, they serve as models of resilience, perseverance, motivation and work ethic. With those things in mind, let’s look at some of the top health and fitness speakers available today.

Kayla Itsines

Recognized as one of the most influential fitness trainers in the world, Kayla Itsines has educated millions through her speaking engagements, e-books and educational workout videos. Itsines’ overall drive and entrepreneurial spirit led her to be named by Time Magazine as one of the 30 most influential people on the Internet. On top of that, the popularity of her Sweat with Kayla workout app and overall social media prowess speak to her business savvy. She brings that same energy and wisdom to her speaking engagements, making her one the most highly sought-after professional fitness speakers worldwide.

Mo Brossette

Nutrition, movement and mindset expert Mo Brossette has worked in health and fitness for more than two decades. As Director of Mindset and Nutrition for Dallas-based nonprofit the Adaptive Training Foundation, he assists disabled veterans through mental and physical training. As a keynote speaker, he helps corporations achieve their goals by addressing the topics of fear and human potential. With decades of hands-on experience to back him, Brossette brilliantly engages audiences as few others can. In that process, he teaches how to correct limiting beliefs that have no place in a successful individual, team or corporation.

Trent Shelton

When an injury cut this NFL wide receiver’s career short, he reinvented his purpose in life. He began by recording short videos on his rehabilitation progress. Many followed his journey of hard work and physical progress. Soon, what began as a means of holding himself accountable evolved into something much more. He founded the RehabTime Organization, a Christian nonprofit organization where he continues to serve as CEO. His message of hard work, resilience, ethics and meeting the challenges of life’s demands have made him one of the most sought-after health and fitness speakers in the world.

Chris Ruden

Fitness expert Chris Ruden is a diabetic and an amputee. He’s also a powerlifting champion who brings his message of stamina, strength and resilience to every keynote presentation he delivers. Ruden’s client list includes Facebook, Nike, Zappos and the American Diabetes Association among others. His message of hard work and optimism speaks to all of us, whatever the industry or position held, making him one of the top fitness speakers available today. His address topics include peak performance, overcoming adversity, and diversity and inclusion. Every company struggles with obstacles, and Ruden knows how to face and overcome each of them from within.

Shawn Stevenson

Keynote fitness speaker Shawn Stevenson knows personal challenges. Diagnosed with an incurable spinal disease while in college, he experienced terrible pain and lost much of his function in one leg. Diagnoses at the time did not show much hope for improvement, but Stevenson did not accept defeat. He embraced resilience. Today, the highly sought fitness speaker goes beyond “managing” adversity to transforming it for a greater role in a better life. Through diet and exercise, he reversed his “incurable” affliction. Now host of the Model Health Show, Stevenson brings this message of hard work and success to every event.

Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels knows health and fitness. She knows business, too. A certified nutritionist, she’s also a life coach and entrepreneur with more than 100 million followers across social media platforms. Her popular fitness app includes meal plans and recipes as well as workout routines, adding to the vast reach of this personal trainer and author. As a fitness celebrity, Michaels appeared on the popular NBC series The Biggest Loser for 12 seasons. Her speaking topics include business, motivation and wellness, and her charitable work includes serving as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society.

John Salley

Wellness advocate and vegan John Salley is more than an NBA star, though his records speak for themselves. He’s also one of the most in-demand health and wellness speakers of our time. His raw, plant-based diet is certainly about health, but it’s also about discipline, reinventing oneself and remaining versatile. An achiever with the energy and stamina to light up any corporate event, he’s remained ahead of the curve with his understanding of global health issues and the demands of personal excellence. Salley is a soldier in the fight against diabetes, and he serves as a partner with the Vegan Vine wine label in partnership with Clos LaChance Winery.

How to Hire a Speaker for Your Event

How to Hire a Speaker for Your Event

Hiring a keynote speaker can feel like the most daunting task when planning an event. Whether you seek a celebrity speaker to help raise institutional funds, a motivational speaker to advance sales or a business speaker to support your team in coping with change, you need a professional. In fact, that single keynote presentation often determines overall event success.

That’s a lot of pressure for an event organizer.

But the task does not need to be daunting. By keeping certain considerations in mind, and following a step-by-step approach, you can all but guarantee a positive, fun and motivational company gathering. Let’s look at some best practices in hiring the right speaker for your next business or charitable event.

Get to know your event: set goals, objectives and outcomes first.

As an event planner, the most stressful part for me always came at the opening strategy stage. Don’t rush yourself at the beginning. Talk with other organizers, managers, employees and anyone else with a stake in the event. Give yourself time to fully understand how the day or afternoon will unfold. That is, the timing, space and intended purpose of the guest speaker.

Separate goals, objectives and outcomes. An immediate goal may simply be hiring a speaker, but think of objectives and outcomes, too. Define them. Is your objective to inspire your audience or to promote a cause? Is it to create better communication in your company or to entertain attendees between working break-out sessions?

Then, consider your intended outcomes. Perhaps you seek to enhance creativity in a company that has become complacent, or to increase donations for longevity of a program. While you haven’t begun thinking of particular speakers yet, getting a sense of objective and outcomes will assist you in the process later.

Define your time and budget.

Two things matter most in event planning: time and budget. And both are in short supply!

Once you’ve defined your objectives and outcomes, you can better address the role of your guest speaker. Consider how much money you have to spend and the amount of time you can a lot. There will certainly be moving pieces, and you may have to revisit scheduling and budget several times during the planning process. For instance, you may first desire a keynote presentation at a certain time for a certain price. But later, the person you want costs a few dollars more and is only available at another time. You will need to shift things around as you go, but it’s important to start with a working plan.

What kind of speaker will be most useful and memorable to attendees?

If you already have a fair sense of the above steps, you will be surprised at how easily the rest falls into place. You are now ready to consider the kind of keynote address you would like to have for your company event.

You will face certain pressures. Everyone from the CEO to coworkers will have an opinion on who you should hire as a speaker. So might the caterer you spoke with! Take in their suggestions, whether informally or at meetings. Jot down every idea. You’ll revisit them later.

Most importantly, think as though you were any other attendee. Consider what kind of speaker will be most relevant and engaging to your audience. Your audience may consist of employees, outside guests from the public, or both. Revisit your objectives and outcomes. The speaker you’d want for a public groundbreaking ceremony will engage very differently than a speaker for an internal sustainability initiative.

Research your guest speakers.

Believe it or not, you’re already mostly there! By now, a fuller picture has formed. You should have a clear idea of your audience and where to guide them. Now, you can begin looking more deeply at specific guest speakers.

Revisit the lists you made earlier from the suggestions of others. Make phone calls, send messages and get on the internet. That is, follow every lead and source as you search for available guest speakers who align with your goals. Check out their availability. More importantly, visit their websites and available media. A guest motivational speaker who interests you almost certainly has Ted Talks and other media available on hosting sites like iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and others. Gather a sense of them. Do they align with your purpose? Do they interest you personally? If not, you will almost certainly find several other “suggested” speakers along a similar vein.

Mostly, keep a strong balance of the subjective and the objective when researching media. On one hand, they should be exciting. You want someone who is motivational and subjectively “grabbing” your attention. Objectively, you also need to look critically at whether a particular keynote speaker has the right familiarity with your event’s defined objectives and outcomes.

Begin contacting potential speakers.

In most cases, you will not contact your guest speaker directly. Rather, you will work through a booking agent.

Yes, if your event is small or purely of local interest, you might be able to reach out to a “local celebrity” or internal guru yourself. But for a memorable event, you need an experienced motivator and thought leader. And “experienced” usually means that they are busy!

Don’t let that worry you. In fact, working through a booking agent will make your job easier.

Booking agents have been through this routine before, hundreds or perhaps thousands of times. They will work with you on scheduling to meet your timing, budget and event needs. Just don’t be afraid to express your specific objective and outcomes to the booking agent. It’s better to find out now rather than later that the speaker you initially chose doesn’t exactly suit the subject matter you intend for your keynote address.

Keep your eyes on the prize and remain versatile.

Every event—whether corporate or foundational—has dozens of moving parts. Each piece is an opportunity for something not to work out as perfectly as you planned. A caterer brings the wrong meals. An assistant you depended on calls in sick. And, in rare cases, your keynote speaker arrives late.

Flight delays happen. Things go wrong. Planning is everything, but only if you remember that part of planning is knowing that everything won’t go exactly as you imagined. Remain versatile. Have backup and contingency plans. Be ready to think on the fly throughout the day and smile the whole way through.

If an audience needs to be engaged for an extra 10 or even 20 minutes, don’t be caught off guard. Instead, rehearse, know your available resources and be ready to take charge of your event personally when needed.

Get started hiring your event speaker.

Event planning does not need to be hard, but it is up to you to make it easier. And in the process, take your event from good to great.

We will assist you in hiring the best event speaker available. SUCCESS Speakers Bureau provides a growing list of dozens of top international speakers from a spectrum of industries and backgrounds. Plus, each speaker is searchable by keyword, saving you time. After that, booking your guest speaker has never been easier. All it takes is adding the time of your event plus your contact information. 

Make your next event the best one yet. Check out the dozens of bestselling authors, motivational speakers and the top business leaders SUCCESS Speakers Bureau has to offer.

Photo by GaudiLab/Shutterstock 

The Best Motivational Speakers to Know in 2022

The Best Motivational Speakers to Know in 2022

Whether booking a motivational speaker for a grand opening keynote address or to inspire your employees, you want to make the best choice possible. Do you want the star impact of a top celebrity? Or do you seek inspiration for executives from a first-rate leadership speaker? For that matter, you might want to hire someone industry-specific such as a real estate or health and wellness speaker.

With so many options, it’s helpful to start with a list of some of the best motivational speakers available. Here, you will find 16 top motivational speakers with a variety of backgrounds from a wide range of industries. So start scheduling. And get motivated!

Anne Grady

A leading global authority on resilience, Anne is also an entrepreneur and author of Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, and 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work: Transforming Your Life One Week at a Time. Her approach to coping with challenges and overall health and well-being are grounded in both personal challenges and research. When her son was diagnosed with severe mental illness and autism, she dove into researching brain development and neuroscience to find answers.

This scientific inquisitiveness grounds her inspirational and enlightening approach to personal growth with plenty of grace, humor and strategies to meet any adversity. Grady is a two-time TEDx speaker and has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fox Business and other news outlets nationwide.

Notable Quote: “Getting in a rut is dangerous; after all, a rut is just a grave with no ends.”

Mel Robbins

A leading business speaker and authority on confidence-building and planning, Mel Robbins has become one of the most booked speakers in the world. Her productivity planner, The 5 Second Rule, became an international bestseller with four additional #1 best-selling audiobooks on Audible including The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit.

As an entrepreneur, her online courses have changed the lives of over a million students with a 99% approval rating. Her nationally-syndicated daytime talk show, The Mel Robbins Show, has likewise inspired audiences with better tools for building courage and taking control both in work and in life.

Notable Quote: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Trent Shelton

Former NFL wide receiver Trent Shelton knows how to get your attention and hold it, inspiring people with his candid and deeply motivational short videos. His 2019 book, The Greatest You: Face Reality, Release Negativity, and Live Your Purpose, enjoys a nearly five-star rating at Amazon as does his 2020 book, Straight Up: Honest, Unfiltered, As-Real-As-I-Can-Put-It Advice for Life’s Biggest Challenges.

When an injury cut his NFL career short, he chose not to lose sight of his dream and instead turned his setback into a global message of empowerment. He founded the Christian nonprofit Rehab Time, a global-facing institution with a message of positive change and life improvement. Reaching millions through his uplifting message, Rehab Time also includes workout groups and Shelton’s own inspirational speaking engagements.

Notable Quote: “If you’re afraid of struggle, then you’re afraid of growth. You have to go through it to get to it.” 

Jay Shetty

With a background in business and as a Hindu monk, life coach Jay Shetty brings a unique perspective to his message of peace and inner growth. The #1 New York Times best-selling author of Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day inspires readers and listeners alike with a message of well-being and sustainable fulfillment.

Forbes named Shetty to their 30 Under 30 list as a game-changer in media, and People Magazine has named him as an influencer to watch. Creator of On Purpose, named to Apple’s Top 20 Podcasts of the Year in its first year, Shetty’s inspirational videos have garnered him more than 4 million subscribers.

Notable Quote: “We must keep the promises we make to ourselves so that we can keep those that we make to others.”

Grant Cardone

When it comes to speaking engagements, Grant Cardone knows his business. Through hard work and entrepreneurship, Cardone now owns and operates seven privately held companies and the private equity real estate firm Cardone Capital.

The New York Times best-selling author of The 10X Rule also established the 10X Growth Conference, now among the largest business and entrepreneurial conferences in the world. With a massive following as a speaker, Cardone is known for his crowdfunding acumen and has been voted the top marketing influencer to watch by Forbes. His business and sales educational platforms have inspired more than nearly 400,000 users with their message of personal accomplishment in the worlds of business, finance and real estate.

Notable Quote: “As long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s.”

Kindra Hall

President and Chief Storytelling Officer at Steller Collective and a former Director of Marketing and VP sales, Kindra Hall knows intimately the power of strategic storytelling. Her influential books Stories That Stick and Choose Your Story, Change Your Life, among others, explore the way stories can influence both sales and our personal outlooks in life and goal changing ways.

Hall’s clients include Hilton Hotels, Tyson Foods, Target and Berkshire Hathaway, and she has even served as a guest faculty member at Harvard Medical School. A former contributing editor to SUCCESS magazine, Hall is a highly sought-after keynote and guest speaker by some of the most trusted brands across industries. Her motivational speeches inspire teams and individuals in improved means of communicating their messages through better storytelling

Notable Quote: “A single purpose story has the ability to unite entire teams of people and reconnect them to the deeper meaning of their work.”

Iyanla Vanzant

Inspirational speaker and lawyer Iyanla Vanzant sees two different kinds of work. The first is growth work—that is, managing to work with where you are and what you have for better outcomes. The second is healing work: digging for the causes of certain habitual, unconscious and systemic behaviors or beliefs that may hold you back from healing and growth.

Named by Ebony Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans, she inspires a practical path forward through any hardship and toward personal growth and spiritual development. A television guest of Oprah, Joy Behar, Dr. Oz and many others, Vanzant inspires both teams and individuals with her messages of personal empowerment and tapping into the power within.

Notable Quote: “Every day is your day if you claim it. If you wait for somebody else to make it for you, you’re going to be disappointed.”

Simon T. Bailey

Speaker, success coach, author, television host and philanthropist Simon T. Bailey doesn’t believe in limits. With an emphasis on high performance, he motivates his followers to discover their brilliance and act on it.

He provides real-world strategies for high performers under pressure through platforms including LinkedIn Learning features and books such as Be the Spark: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life and his Brilliant Living series. With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including serving as sales director for the Disney Institute, Bailey understands the pressures faced by leaders and provides the motivation and tools needed to succeed in the most demanding industries.

Notable Quote: “Expand your inner circle to include those who can challenge your thinking and escalate you to unreached heights of success.”

Erin King

Communication isn’t always easy. Effective sales communications can be harder. The ever-changing digital age has afforded greater access to audiences, but also additional nuances and hurdles. Digital communications, sales and branding keynote speaker Erin King will inspire your teams and provide a new way of understanding how to succeed.

King has authored best-selling books such as Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Workplace and You’re Kind of a Big Deal: Level Up by Unlocking Your Audacity and serves clients ranging from the Pentagon to the Oscars. King served as CEO of Socialite Agency, and her keynote addresses assist marketing teams in closing the gap between online and offline worlds for a better communications strategy. A master in the art of digital persuasion, her addresses are known to “crush it” for audiences with lasting impressions and opportunity for sales growth and personal fulfillment.

Notable Quote: “Level up how you show up online, offline, and all the time.”

Tristan Ahumada

CEO of Lab Coat Agents and award-winning blogger, Realtor® Tristan Ahumada has worked in real estate since 2004 and serves as SUCCESS magazine’s people editor. A highly sought after speaker, he assists businesses as a consultant with a focus on relationship building with clients.

Ahumada believes in leading with kindness, and the results are impressive. His podcast features thought leaders currently shaping industries, and he loves using social media outlets to market real estate and to connect with others. In fact, he is the creator and co-founder of one of the largest private Facebook real estate groups in the U.S. Ahumada speaks year-round on lead conversion through long-term followup and building lasting connections.

Notable Quote: “I often hear I’m getting into real estate because I’m tired of working 9-5. And that is the number one biggest mistake.”

Amy Purdy

Professional speaker, blogger and author Amy Purdy understands challenges, determination and success. After falling victim to meningitis, she became a double amputee and began snowboarding seven months after she received her prosthetic legs. Accomplished in athletics, dance and entrepreneurship, her popular TEDx talk “Living Beyond Limits” gained her notoriety as a top inspirational speaker at events.

Purdy is a co-founder of the nonprofit organization Adaptive Action Sports and authored the book On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life. In it, she inspires readers with her story of resilience, daring to dream big and how we can all rewrite our own stories.

Notable Quote: When we embrace the things that make us unique, our true and remarkable capabilities are revealed

Michelle Poler

Keynote speaker and fear facer Michelle Poler encourages her audiences to step outside their respective comfort zones to reach their full potential. A branding strategist, she authored the book Hello, Fears: Crush Your Comfort Zone and Become Who You’re Meant to Be. She has spoken at TEDx, Microsoft, Toyota and other major brands with engaging humor and humility, tackling practical strategies for personal growth and professional accomplishment.

Poler is a creative and passionate social entrepreneur, and is also the creator of the 100 Days Without Fear project. 

Notable Quote: “Making fear-based decisions leads to regret, unhappiness, conformity, and resentment.”

Mally Roncal

Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal knows drive and motivation. She followed her ambitions from the makeup counter at Barney’s to traveling the world as a celebrity makeup artist for stars such as Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. Entrepreneurial in spirit, she launched Mally Beauty live on QVC in 2005 and has garnered a massive social media following as a key influencer.

Roncal has appeared on The Wendy Williams Show, Good Morning America, Today and others, and is the author of Love, Lashes, and Lipstick: My Secrets for a Gorgeous, Happy Life. Her positive and inspirational message and dynamic, engaging qualities make her a favorite public speaker.

Notable Quote: “In my opinion, there are no rules. If you want to rock a trend, I say go for it, and just know that you are fierce enough to pull it off!”

Eric Thomas

Speaker and business consultant Eric Thomas takes a creative approach to living successfully, both in your personal and professional life. He serves as CEO of his consulting firm, ETA LLC., working with companies such as General Electric, Quicken Loans and AT&T as well as consulting for major league sports franchises.

The author of Greatness is Upon You: How to Achieve and Sustain Greatness conducts sermons and started a program for underprivileged youth in Huntsville, Alabama. He also founded Breathe University, featuring online training and coaching sessions and hosts the Secret to Success podcast on Apple, YouTube, Stitcher and Spotify.

Notable Quote: “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” 

Michael Gelb

Our most underutilized resource lies within us. The genius within each of us often goes unnoticed—and unused. Michael Gelb leads as a corporate culture authority, author and speaker on tapping into genius and applying it to both personal and organizational development.

Scholarly, fun and well-rounded, Gelb’s nearly 20 published books cover such topics as public speaking, wellness and creativity. His latest book, The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World, explores why certain companies excel at employee happiness, customer loyalty and community engagement. Co-authored with Raj Sisodia, The Healing Organization has earned a nearly five-star overall review on Amazon.

Notable Quote: “Whatever your discipline, become a student of excellence in all things. Take every opportunity to observe people who manifest the qualities of mastery. These models of excellence will inspire you and guide you toward the fulfillment of your highest potential.”

Seeking the best motivational speaker for your event?

While this list showcases some of the best motivational and keynote speakers, it is by no means exhaustive. There might be a more perfect fit for your needs available today. Still, pouring through hundreds of web pages and thousands of speakers isn’t the answer.

That is why SUCCESS presents the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau. Depend on our 100 years of experience in business success and a decade of building relationships with top business professionals and speakers worldwide. Explore our speakers by category of interest, read individual biographies and check for availability. It’s that simple.

Be prepared and make a splash at your next corporate event. Check out the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau now!