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The Best Motivational Speakers Throughout History
Celebrity / Entertainers, Personal Development, Storytelling, Women's Leadership

The Best Motivational Speakers Throughout History

History guides us, leading us in the footsteps of our predecessors as we explore new worlds and ideas. And the same holds true of our most gifted motivational speakers. From Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas, storytellers have guided humanity through spoken allegories and parables. Ancient Athenian figures such as Pericles and Socrates further honed and formalized the craft, and over time, modern public speaking has evolved alongside humanity.

At their best, history’s motivational speakers inspire us to this day with messages of hope, personal growth, humanitarian progress and social justice. So who are some of history’s top motivational speakers—those who shaped not only the art of public speaking, but the world?

Jesus Christ

Motivational sermons can influence both the audience and the very fabric of a society. And few motivational sermons are better known than Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This speech did more than gather an audience—it made an impact felt throughout history. It may be one of the most widely cited public addresses, fueling causes across the globe. Though little is known of Jesus’ speaking style, his messages influence philanthropists, activists and motivational speakers such as Trent Shelton, Priscilla Shirer and Tony Robbins to this day.

The Prophet Muhammad

Like Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad was born of humble origins. As with the great speakers of ancient Greece, he did not rely on written text or even notes to deliver his message. But he did—by divine inspiration or human understanding—use both logic (logos) and empathy and emotion (pathos) in his speeches, crafting a message of peace that went beyond lessons and syllogisms. He painted broad landscapes with words, appealing to senses of sound, sight and smell. In this way, Muhammad took people out of their preconceptions and placed them in a unique moment where they could embrace new ideas. To this day, modern motivational speakers such as Alaa Murabit similarly create seemingly tangible landscapes with words to better engage audiences.

Susan B. Anthony

Social reformer and suffragette activist Susan B. Anthony learned how to engage and motivate people at a young age. It was then, at only 16, that she gathered petitions to support the abolitionist movement in the United States. This early experience in communicating with people one-on-one fueled her activism for women’s suffrage and temperance. It also honed her skills in engaging with people at a personal level, even when those audiences became quite large and sometimes hostile. That commitment to social justice led her to spearhead more localized labor and justice movements prior to becoming a national figure. Her commitment to logic as a rhetorical device served her reform movements well, allowing her to change billions of lives. And it all began with simple petition-gathering.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Following Susan B. Anthony into the 20th Century, Martin Luther King is the first motivational speaker on this list to have video of his delivery style. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight David Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy—each unique in their delivery—were clearly influential, too. But King stands out. An outsider who was not seen as an equal among many, King faced a constant uphill battle. Yet the man who motivated tens of millions of people in this country continues to motivate oppressed peoples globally today. He interwove complex elements of logic based in faith and positive passion with implied aversion to evil, carefully metered in the way only a Southern minister quite can. His speaking style may be the most studied in the world, but engage with his writing, also, for even deeper insight.

Nelson Mandela

Some motivational speakers are great orators. But few speakers come to the table with a clear willingness to stand or die for what they believe in. Nelson Mandela lived both. Prior to a trial in 1964, he stated that his conviction for harmony and equal opportunity “is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” That message spread across continents. And it spread across decades, too. Like King and others, he communicated that common struggles unite us all. While keeping one person or group “down” may seem advantageous for some in the short-term, it decreases overall harmony in the long-term. Any sense of negativity rarely entered his addresses, and a positive outlook enriched his speaking style. Like Mahatma Gandhi, he proved that his faith in humanity was of greater importance than anything. 

Mr. Rogers

Transitioning from the likes of Muhammad, Christ, Mandela or King to Fred Rogers isn’t the hard part. The hard part is that I think it would embarrass him. Yet, he belongs here. His undeniable influence as a public speaker is truly beyond measure. Consider that you have likely spent more time listening to Mr. Rogers speak to you—seemingly directly to you—than anyone else here. Were you engaged? Did he change your perception? Do you think that change improved your life or made a better person of you? Are you kinder or in any way more “together” for that influence? Are you a better person because of him? That’s what a motivational speaker does. Mr. Rogers influenced generations of children with a message of empathy and emotional intelligence through a simple, warm example and a calm, clear, gentle style of expression.

Today’s top motivational speakers

Motivational speakers such as Bob Proctor, Jim Rohn and Dr. Deepak Chopra further paved the way in building personal and societal enrichment through public speaking. Less than a century later, the internet provides us, our teams and our organizations even greater access to thought leaders. And they have greater access to us, too, through virtual speaking engagements and online motivational classes. 

Visit the Success Speakers Bureau to discover the top motivational speakers and inspirational game-changers of today.

Photo by Alessia Pierdomenico/Shutterstock

Book a Speaker for Your Holiday Event
Business Speakers, Celebrity / Entertainers, Health & Wellness, Personal Development

Book a Speaker for Your Holiday Event

The holiday season often includes events, seminars and retreats for your corporate teams. Alongside the excitement of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holiday celebrations, the coming new year reminds us to leave old habits behind and mindfully embrace healthier lifestyles. It’s no surprise that this is the perfect time of year to book a motivational speaker.

But whether hiring a speaker for a virtual appearance or booking them for a live presentation, you’ll want someone with a message that hits the right tone for both your company and for the season. Let’s explore some ideal speaker categories from the Success Speakers Bureau that will motivate your teams and bring out their best over the coming year.

Personal development

Along with good cheer, the holidays can bring a lot of stress. After all, many people are trying to juggle both work and family planning, and others are coping with sadness or loneliness. Even those of us who love the holidays will admit they can be overwhelming!

Personal development speakers empower your employees with the confidence that comes with resilience. TEDx speaker alum Anne Grady quite literally wrote the book on resilience—several, in fact, including Mind Over Moment and Strong Enough. Motivational speaker Dan Thurmon, on the other hand, entertainingly teaches employees the path to success through facing and coping with their fears. And youthful influencer and best-selling author Jay Shetty, always a hit with the crowd, endows your corporate audiences with a message of inner peace that is so welcome during the holidays.

Health and wellness

New Year’s resolutions usually involve working on our health and well-being. Whether that means eating more nutritious foods, achieving greater wellness through exercise or practicing meditation for improved mindfulness, the new year provides an opportunity for growth. But we also know that our resolutions seldom remain fulfilled. Much of that has to do with the fact that we simply don’t have the skills or best practices for sustained health and wellness.

With employee wellness programs growing in popularity, the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to jumpstart your workplace health initiatives. Motivational speaker Mo Brossette, for instance, knows the power of nutrition and movement in helping us keep focused and accomplishing our dreams. Likewise, Shawn Stevenson improves your corporate culture with an inspiring message of the power found in fitness and nutrition. And Karen M. Allen provides the tools needed to feel and live better through a more positive mindset. Trusted by Google, The Women’s Foodservice Forum and many others, Allen’s talks are always personal, captivating and informative.

Personal finance

Holiday cheer usually comes at a (literal) cost. Gifts, travel and meal expenses not only affect your employees’ personal lives, they can impact employee performance. Many of your employees may lack proper money management skills, and no time brings that home quite like the holidays.

Better personal finance skills provide a holiday gift for your employees that lasts year-round. Not only that—by preventing employees from being distracted or depressed by debt, it also helps corporate culture, unity and productivity. Financial expert and professional speaker Anthony O’Neal has helped more than a quarter million readers with his book Debt Free Degree, plus another 15 million with his The Table with Anthony ONeal podcast. Similarly, financial literacy expert and best-selling author Sharon Lechter brings her exciting and personally empowering message of better money management to every event. And guest financial speaker Tom Corley never misses with his insights on the habits that separate the wealthy from those struggling financially.

Celebrity speakers

When considering a guest speaker for your corporate holiday event, you might also consider booking a celebrity speaker. They bring a sense of excitement to your event that is ideal as you close out the year. It’s a wonderful gift to your employees to keep the mood up. Plus, their range of expertise and topics makes it simple to find the perfect speaker to suit your corporate messaging goals.

Mindset coach and social media influencer Natasha Graziano always entertains and lights up a crowd with her transformational message of personal growth. Likewise, Shark Tank host, author and entrepreneur Daymond John brings headliner star power to your event, as well as a motivational message of self-empowerment and success. Meanwhile, crowd-pleaser and memory champion Ron White shares the secrets of a better memory with an exciting presentation honed from appearances on Good Morning America, Superhuman on Fox and, of course, countless speaking engagements. 

Booking your speaker for the holidays

We’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of the top-name speakers available to book through the Success Speakers Bureau for your company holiday event. With more than a century of experience building relationships with leading coaches, trainers and entrepreneurs, SUCCESS has leveraged our contacts to bring you a growing list of the top speakers in the world.

Best of all, booking your next speaker during the holidays—or at any time—has never been easier. We handle the logistics for both live and virtual guest appearances so you don’t have to. Simply drop us a note with your speaking engagement needs or questions, or contact us via email. With just that step, you’ll be well on your way to making your organization’s event as fun and memorable as you dreamed!

Speaker Spotlight: Anne Grady
Business Speakers, Personal Development

Speaker Spotlight: Anne Grady and the Power of Resilience

Every person and organization faces setbacks, many of which are beyond our control. But it’s how we face personal and professional challenges that makes all the difference between a happy, dynamic and prosperous organization and one which is perpetually caught off-balance.

Successful enterprises are built on mindfulness, personal development and team cohesion, and resilience lies at the heart of each. That is why motivational speakers such as Anne Grady have become so popular among leading organizations and brands such as ADP, Dell and MasterCard. Hiring a top motivational speaker for your next event provides the catalyst you may need to add energy and enthusiasm to teams that seem to be lagging, overwhelmed or simply unmotivated.

So why hire Grady for your event? And what about her experience and background set her apart from others on your short list of professional speakers?

Anne Grady’s name and style capture audiences from the start.

Booking Grady for your event creates buzz and excitement, and adds a sense of trust and authority to any event. Her reputation as a two-time TEDx speaker and global expert on resilience lets prospective attendees know that your event is worth their time and effort. Plus, her notoriety as a leading resilience consultant, trainer and author make her a major draw whether you book her live or for a virtual address.

Audiences will know her from such best-selling, personally-empowering books such as Mind Over Moment and Strong Enough. But just as importantly, they will find that same clarity and life-changing wisdom in every one of her deliveries. Grady moves flawlessly between deeply moving stories, humor and the brilliance of “Aha!” moments that audiences will never forget. Bigger than life yet intimately relatable, Grady’s ability to capture and hold an audience’s attention has made her one of the world’s most popular motivational speakers.

Her corporate addresses empower individuals with resilience.

Improved personal resilience builds happier individuals, stronger teams and better-functioning corporations. Rather than avoiding challenges or adversity, resilience cultivates the means to meet challenges—and even benefit from them.

Globally recognized as a personal development and growth mindset expert, Grady empowers individuals through her proven methods in harnessing resilience. The Anne Grady Group, in fact, has built its reputation on assisting corporations and organizations—and the individuals within them—to harness the power of resilience. The result is a happier, more energized, adaptable and productive organization.

Ready to help your executives, managers and staff better handle challenges, setbacks and adversity? Booking Grady for your event preps them with the right mindset to meet your long-term goals!

Anne Grady offers unique insights as a lifelong learner.

As a lifelong learner with an innate curiosity and the resolve to face challenges with knowledge, Grady embodies what we look for in our best employees, from new hires to executive leadership. When her son was diagnosed with autism and severe mental illness, she delved into neuroscience. Just as immediate, her own tumor diagnosis again challenged her to learn and cope, ultimately adding to her personal growth.

This approach to adversity, resilience and growth did not end with personal wellness. Grady continues to learn daily as a speaker and entrepreneur—but she also has the maturity and experience to never succumb to the latest fad. Rather, the new knowledge she acquires daily augments and builds upon her approach.

Top corporations trust her for the best resilience addresses.

Top brands trust Grady’s live and virtual presentations as well as her resilience training programs. As one recent client said, “We left Anne’s presentation with new skills, new tools, and a plan to use them!”

So who are these clients? Some include Walgreens, Microsoft, Google and United Healthcare—amongst many, many more.

Additionally, if you seek to book a woman speaker, Grady brings the bona fides of commitment to empowering women in the workplace. Her entrepreneurial work has been certified by the WBENC—the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council—which is “the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses in the U.S.”

How can I book Anne Grady for my event?

Booking mindset growth and resilience expert Grady for your event is now simpler than ever. The Success Speaker’s Bureau will handle the logistics so you can get back to empowering audiences through an event as great as you imagined.

Simply contact us with a few details, and we’ll get started in providing Grady or other top professional speakers.

And if you are a speaker ready to join the ranks of Grady, Daymond John and Jay Shetty, plus dozens of other thought leaders, learn how to become a Success speaker.

Top Personal Development Keynote Speakers [2022]
Business Speakers, Keynote, Personal Development

Top Personal Development Keynote Speakers [2022]

Seeking to hire a personal development speaker to improve the health, resilience, creativity and interpersonal skills of your organization’s teams? Look no further—SUCCESS Speakers Bureau presents 10 of our top picks for inspiring personal and organizational transformation.

Jay Shetty

World-renowned speaker, podcaster and motivational coach Jay Shetty didn’t always know success. The former monk has experienced corporate rejection, career dissatisfaction and even financial instability. Yet Shetty not only endured—he thrived. Today, the lessons he learned in finding peace and purpose infuse his every keynote presentation, and he has assisted countless top organizations including Google and NASDAQ. His wisdom, charisma and humor shine through in every presentation with topics including innovation, mindfulness, creativity, branding and more.

Natasha Graziano

Personal development can be transformative. Most often, it is not so much about changing yourself as it is finding yourself. Celebrity speaker and mindset coach Natasha Graziano knows this process intimately. Once homeless and broke, the Be it Until You Become It author and trending celebrity speaker experienced transformation at the grassroots level. Now, Graziano has delivered timeless addresses alongside speakers like Mark Cuban, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone and Tony Robbins, and has worked with top brands including Estée Lauder, Nord VPN and BetterHelp. 

Stephen Hilgart

Personal development creates peace and fulfillment. It also builds strong, confident leaders and successful companies. Peak performance and business strategy expert Stephen Hilgart has served thousands of corporations and audiences with his one-of-a-kind training sessions and workshops. Personally trained by Tony Robbins, Hilgart’s results-driven approach to building optimal performance creates immediate strategic improvements that will last through the long-term of company growth. Energetic and always entertaining, Hilgart makes every event he attends both memorable and meaningful.

Anne Grady

Personal development requires proven methods in building resilience. Recognized as a leading resilience expert, Anne Grady has inspired hundreds of thousands of people across industries to take ownership of their lives and improve performance. As both a virtual and in-person keynote speaker, she draws equally from her personal research in neuroscience and her master’s degree in organizational communication. This combination, along with her mastery in connecting with audiences at a personal level, has made her one of the most in-demand professional speakers today.

Sam Silverstein

Understanding the keys to personal accountability resembles planting a seed. It not only grows individually, it also has the power to change the environment around it. Sam Silverstein leads as an expert in personal accountability, and the transformation he inspires can lead to a better work culture and lasting growth and sales throughout your organization. Called an “accountability guru,” Silverstein has authored such books as The Success Model, Making Accountable Decisions and No More Excuses, among others. Always engaging, his keynote addresses take on topics that include leadership, healthcare, personal development and accountability.

Karen M. Allen

Better individual health and an improved mindset transforms individuals, teams and entire corporations. Karen Allen, keynote speaker and founder of 100% Human™, has more than proven her expertise in the transformative power of mindfulness and positive mindsets. She has worked with Google, AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Experian and many other top corporations to showcase proven methods in building positive psychology and better overall well-being. Her resilience-building addresses build upon two frameworks: “Stop & Shift” exercises to build resilience and “100% Human” guideposts to create a human-centric professional culture.

Neil Pasricha

Living intentionally seems as though it should come naturally, yet the circumstances we experience—and how we cope with them—can lead us to just “going along” with life as though we are in a dream. Neil Pasricha wants you to reclaim intentional living and experience your life with purpose. A leading authority in intentional living, Pasricha helps individuals in your organization cope with failure, build resilience, experience gratitude and reclaim their most mindfully aware lives. Author of The Happiness Equation and You Are Awesome, Pasricha speaks at institutions ranging from Shopify to Harvard. His Ted Talk, The 3 A’s of Awesome, has been viewed over three million times.

Mo Brossette

Mind, body, movement and nutrition are more than connected. They make up who we are, and these intricate connections impact our overall well-being and performance in every aspect of life. Four-time Ironman Triathlete and nutritionist Mo Brossette not only speaks about feeling better—he helps audiences live better. The clarity of mind that comes with better health and nutrition assists teams and entire organizations to achieve peak performance, creativity and functionality. With a strong, healthy mind, communications improve, along with overall well-being. As a keynote speaker, Brossette helps get you there.  

Dan Thurmon

Better health and wellness improve our focus, creativity and even overall productivity. Always energetic, Dan Thurmon lives what he teaches. He has assisted corporations like Google, Microsoft, Chick-fil-A and Firestone in achieving optimal performance even at times of transformation. Thurmon has provided thousands of presentations worldwide, helping employees embrace success and achievement in the face of their personal fears and inhibitions. As founder and current president of Motivation Works, Thurmon coaches major brands, educators and even world leaders in purposeful leadership.

5 Top Self-Care Motivational Speakers to Give Your Team the Lift They Need
Motivational, Personal Development

5 Top Self-Care Motivational Speakers to Give Your Team the Lift They Need

Self-care means taking the time and energy to stay physically, emotionally and psychologically healthy. That includes everything from eating well to an exercise regime and time outdoors. It also involves setting aside time for meditation and getting enough sleep. The personal benefits of self-care compound for each of us in a short time and we become healthier, happier, more resilient and less fatigued.

Self-care activities enhance our relationships, too. While we might spend time away from others for personal care, we learn to better live in the moment. We become less irritable and respond better to the needs of others. Simply put, we feel more refreshed, supportive and ready to handle challenging situations.

And isn’t that what you want from your staff and leadership teams?

Personal care for employees is good for business.

Hiring a self-care keynote speaker for your next corporate event does more than energize your team in the short-term. It can instill a sense of personal purpose for your employees that spreads throughout the organization, and it lasts. A healthy, happy, more resilient team not only gets along better, but is more productive, healthier and more creative.

Hiring a personal care speaker has grown in popularity in recent years among top and emergent organizations for each of these reasons and more. But if you want to find a truly effective speaker, where do you start? And what speakers are available for your next event? Here’s a list of our favorites to get you going.

Who are the top self-care speakers available today?

Allison Graham

Allison Graham helps leaders and teams to overcome frustration and work anxiety through a three-part problem-solving framework. The result of this step-by-step approach is higher team optimization with less stress and burnout. Her book Take Back Your Weekends outlines the thought patterns that lead to frustration and anxiety and helps readers meet challenging times with resilience. Graham has spoken professionally since 2006 and her presentations are renowned as some of the best in the industry, combining a conversational style with evidence-based key takeaways.

Allison Graham Quote: “We need downtime to recover. When we work for hours on end, even when we’re on a roll, performance can dwindle.”

Karen M. Allen

Founder of the popular 100% Human movement, mindset expert Karen M. Allen empowers individuals and teams through a deep and personal understanding of positive psychology and post-traumatic growth. Her skill at engaging audiences has become widely renowned. She has spoken for TEDx and has a client list that includes top companies such as Google, AT&T, Women’s Foodservice Forum, Experian and many others. She has also been featured in Forbes and SHRM Magazine as well as on Good Morning America and MSNBC. As a self-care speaker for your team, Allen is one of a kind.

Karen M. Allen Quote: “It’s my big, bold mission to help people get unstuck and let go of that problem-free life they’ve been taught to expect.”

Nataly Kogan

Emotional fitness leads to better leadership. No one understands this better than Happier Now and Gratitude Daily author Nataly Kogan. A globally renowned expert on the nexus of resilience and leadership, she is also the founder of the Happier Method™ and CEO of Happier. As a global keynote speaker, she engages audiences with wit and charm while helping them improve their emotional fitness through evidence-based methods. Whether overcoming adversity or even the latest work challenge, Kogan’s vision of self-care and gratitude helps any team feel stronger, more resilient and courageous. 

Nataly Kogan Quote: “Gratitude reminds us of all that is good amidst the difficult.”

Shawn Achor

Author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential, keynote speaker Shawn Achor delivered a Ted Talk that has become one of the most popular of all time. In fact, his address “The happy secret to better work” currently stands at 24 million views. This engaging and informed speaker spent 12 years at Harvard, earning multiple teaching awards and publications. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on happiness and success, with his research featured on covers of The Harvard Business Review. This author of Big Potential has served clients ranging from the U.S. Treasury to the NFL, bringing his message of positive personal growth and leadership to millions of engaged listeners.

Shawn Achor Quote: “Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it’s the realization that we can.”

Suzy Batiz

Do you ever feel stuck in life? So have individual members of your team. It’s natural, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay in that dark place. Speaker Suzy Batiz challenges her audiences to understand that anything is possible. A success story in her own right, Batiz understands the despair of poverty and abuse. From that darkness, she transformed herself into an entrepreneur who embraces life at its most purposeful. Named one of Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women in America, Batiz has been featured in CNBC, Fast Company, Forbes and many other publications as well as popular television. Her message of growth, resilience, transformation and success speaks to all audiences, making her one of the most sought-after and effective self-care speakers available today.

Suzy Batiz Quote: “What you focus on creates your world.”

Photo courtesy of Susie Batiz

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