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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

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!

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