Planning a motivational keynote event for your company or organization?
Research shows that a boost in employee engagement and morale will also boost company productivity and profit. Motivation comes in many forms and goes by many names–motivational speakers have overcome adversity, beat the odds, and invested insurmountable amounts of time and effort to reach for their dreams.
A motivational speaker can inspire, engage, empower, and, of course, motivate your team. But, “Who are the top motivational keynote speakers,” you may ask?
Fear not, we’ve compiled this list for you.
Top 10 Motivational Keynote Speakers
1. Robyn Benincasa
Robyn Benincasa is a top motivational speaker on leadership and teamwork, adventure racing world champion, CNN Hero, founder of Project Athena, and bestselling author. In her career, she won the World Adventure Race two times and held three Guinness World Record for long-distance kayaking. As part of her foundation Project Athena, she helps people who have endured life-altering medical setbacks to live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery. Her book on teamwork and leadership, How Winning Works, is a New York Times bestseller. Her entertaining keynotes show audiences the foundations of inspired leadership and how to win as a team.
2. Brian Holloway
Former offensive tackle for the New England Patriots, Brian Holloway, is the most requested motivational team builder. He understands how to transform thinking within organizations and challenge the competitive spirit of diverse teams. Brian grew up to face and overcome many challenges—he spent much of his youth adjusting to life in 12 different states, even being labeled a “slow learner.” Persistence and an unstoppable spirit propelled Brian through his early struggles and on to academic and athletic success throughout high his school, college, and professional football years. As an international motivational speaker, Brian’s speaking engagements move and inspire audiences to positive change.
3. Mel Robbins
Mel Robbins is best known for her TEDxTalk: “How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over.” Mel is a powerful motivational keynote speaker who jumps into your audience (literally); creating motivational experiences with surprising research, vivid imagery, original videos, and music. In her keynote, “The 5 Second Rule”, based off her bestselling book of the same name, Mel points out that as we grow up we have parents, coaches, teachers, mentors, etc. who push us to be better and work harder. But as adults, we often don’t have anyone to push and motivate us but ourselves. Using scientific research on the nature of habits, and drawing on facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art, and business, Mel explains the power of a “push moment” to break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt and become a more confident and productive individual.
4. Vernice FlyGirl Armour
Vernice FlyGirl Armour is an inspirational speaker and the first African-American woman combat pilot in the Marines. After serving two tours of duty in Iraq, she served as a diversity liaison for the Pentagon. She propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years and has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and others. In her talks, FlyGirl will share the precise steps she used to break six-figures during her first year in business and seven-figures in only four! Her fresh, edgy style and highly contagious energy will move people to action. Since 2007, she has inspired countless organizations and individuals to make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results.
5. Colin O’Brady
Colin O’Brady is a motivational speaker, professional endurance athlete, and a two-time world record holder. O’Brady has spent the last two decades as an elite endurance athlete and broke the speed world records for the Explorers Grand Slam and Seven Summits in 2016. His accomplishment is even more impressive after suffering a tragic accident in 2008, where he sustained burns on over 25 percent of his body. From lying in a hospital bed to being told he may never walk again normally to beating the odds and setting two of the most prestigious mountaineering world records on the planet, his motivational journey resonates with a wide range of audiences. Through adventure and entrepreneurship, Colin embodies what it means to overcome obstacles, test limits, dream big, set goals, and never give up.
6. Magic Johnson
Universally known for his 13-year professional basketball career, which includes 12 NBA All-Star games, an Olympic gold medal win, and a very public diagnosis and battle with HIV, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is also one of our most requested motivational speakers. After retiring from professional basketball, Magic turned his interest towards entrepreneurship and became a leading spokesperson for HIV education. After leaving the ballcourt, Magic turned to the boardroom. He established the Magic Johnson Development Corporation, which builds commercial property in long-neglected minority urban and suburban neighborhoods. In his keynote address, Johnson delivers a passionate message about his life story and how we can all make a difference in our community. Magic is dedicated to developing programs and supporting services that address the educational, health, and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.
7. Chris Bashinelli
Chris Bashinelli (aka “Bash”) is a motivational and adventure speaker, United Nations speaker, National Geographic Young Explorer, Eagle Scout, and Host of the TV Series Bridge the Gap, as seen on PBS and the National Geographic Channel. Bash takes attendees on an inspirational journey, coupled with stunning video footage and thought-provoking exercises. His talks equip audiences with the practical tools they need to grow their business, connect with other human beings and contribute to humanity. His unapologetic energy, humor, and compassion have made him a go-to speaker everywhere from multi-million dollar corporations to Ivy League Universities.
8. JP Pawliw-Fry
What is it that most often stops us from performing at our best and accomplishing our goals? Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry suggests that it is pressure moments when we feel, overwhelmed and unsure. Using the research and brain science of emotional intelligence Pawliw-Fry explains how your brain works under pressure and how that affects your decision making and your impact on others. JP offers actionable tips on how to view pressure situations as opportunities, instead of obstacles, and provides strategies to manage your emotions so you can be at your best even in your most difficult moments.
9. Mark Pollock
How can we achieve more than we thought possible? Mark Pollock answers that question from his deep personal experience. Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Pollock went on to compete in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps, including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. Then, after an accident in 2010 that left him paralyzed, he began exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide to cure paralysis in our lifetime. The TED 2018 speaker and WEF Young Global Leader says,“The only reason to bring in a speaker is to move the audience emotionally. It can never be about the speaker, rather it must be about engaging the audience to help them achieve more than they thought possible—that is what I aim to do every time.”
10. Bert Jacobs and John Jacobs
Motivational speakers, Bert and John Jacobs have an inspirational story of turning their dream into a socially conscious business. Bert and his brother John launched their retail company, Life is Good, with $78 in their pockets, by selling T-shirts on the streets of Boston. Today, Life is Good is a $100 million positive lifestyle brand sold by over 2,000 retailers across the US and Canada. The brand developed 10 “superpowers” (gratitude, authenticity, creativity, love, courage, compassion, simplicity, humor, fun, openness) that they not only run their company by, but also live by. These superpowers were inspired by customers’ stories which illustrated the power of optimism in the darkest of times.
With the top ten motivational speakers (or perhaps 11?) in mind, you’re well on your way to planning the most motivational and inspiring keynote event your organization has ever seen!