In a slump? Feeling rejected? Need a kickstart?
This could be the cure.
We’ve sat through countless hours of live presentations and Youtube videos and scoured dozens of reviews on motivational speakers. Then we asked sales practitioners and our panel of sales experts and respected gurus to chime in on who gets them motivated.
We looked for speakers with messages that resonate with sales professionals, plus wisdom and enthusiasm that helps you do your work even better.
Like any list of “the best,” ours is based on criteria we think is important. In this case, we wanted energetic speakers with unique outlooks, research-backed ideas and compelling messages who are accessible to organizations of all sizes.
So here’s our list of the top 41 motivational speakers, listed in alphabetical order, along with details on what they do so well.
“Your meaning or purpose doesn’t have to be something that will launch you to the moon. It can be something as simple as making a difference in one person’s life”
Aaker is a social psychologist, marketer and General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her research and presentations focus on time, money and happiness, and she poses questions such as: What actually makes people happy, as opposed to what they think makes them happy? How can small acts create infectious action, and how can such effects be fueled by social media?
“Habits are like financial capital. Forming one today is an investment that will automatically give out returns for years to come.”
Achor is an authority on the connection between happiness and success. He is the author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness and has authored several pieces in The Harvard Business Review. He was a Head Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He focuses on positive psychology, how people can change and practical professional and personal applications.
“There is a long bridge between ‘I failed’ and ‘I’m a failure.’ Do not cross that bridge when you come to it!”
Antonio has authored 12 books on motivation and sales. As a VP of International Sales in a Fortune 500 corporation, he was selected to join the President’s Advisory Council for Excellence in Sales and Management. He focuses on sales technique and motivation.
“Success is never really in a straight line. There are always going to be bumps along the way. Trust your struggle.”
Asher is a news anchor at CNN International, where she appears across platforms covering news on money and the economy. She was raised by a single mother in London, after her father was killed in a car accident, the first of her “struggles.” She focuses on understanding and overcoming struggles.
Simon T. Bailey
“Expand your inner circle to include those who can challenge your thinking and escalate you to unreached heights of success.”
Bailey considers himself a Breakthrough Strategist. He’s the author of nine books, has more than 30 years in the hospitality industry and has worked with more than 1,700 organizations worldwide. He was named one of the top 25 People Who’ll Help Change Your Life by SUCCESS magazine. He focuses on cultural transformation, engagement and better experiences.
“It will never be yesterday. So why do you keep talking about it?! You have to think, ‘What are you going to further your success for tomorrow?’”
Baldridge is a self-management expert who focuses on increasing revenue and productivity while decreasing stress and frustration. She authored The Fast-Forward MBA in Selling and offers real-world tips, case studies and strategies designed to specifically help create and motivate self-managed professionals.
“No plan will ever be perfect, but when it’s good enough to go, move forward with confidence.”
Beals is the author of several books including Branding Yourself as a Business of One, the host of an award-winning business radio talk show and member of National Speakers Association and Global Speakers Federation. He focuses on motivation, building a success attitude, storytelling and relationship-building.
“People with growth mindsets believe that success and achievement are the result of hard work and determination. They see their own (and others’) true potential as something to be defined through effort. As a result, they thrive on challenges and often have a passion for learning.”
Bhargava is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of five books on topics such as the future of business, building human brands with personality and why leaders should eat left-handed. He focuses on business trends, marketing and innovation.
“Mediocrity is like a broke uncle. Once he moves into your house, it is nearly impossible to get him to leave.”
Blount is the author of nine books including People Love You and People Follow You. He focuses on optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate high-performance teams, developing leadership and applying more effective organizational design.
“Always try to get something out of whatever you do, even if you’re not always trying to go for the home run.”
Bova is an innovation evangelist at Salesforce and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Growth IQ, contributor to several major business publications and a podcaster. She was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 37 Sales Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter and a LinkedIn Top Sales Influencer. She focuses on business model innovation, sales transformation and growth acceleration.
“Optimism is a secret weapon for the hero. It allows them to see things that most people don’t, and it’s called opportunities. It allows them to see other people in a new light. It gives them supernatural hearing. It allows them to hear things that others don’t hear.”
Brown is author of The Hero Effect: Being Your Best When it Matters The Most. He focuses on helping people expand their vision and develop their potential to grow results.
“In order to do something you’ve never done, you’ve got to become someone you’ve never been. I
think that all of us have great potential within us, but greatness is a choice; it’s not our destiny. And in the pursuit of our dreams we are introduced to trials, failures and disappointments, which take us to the door of discovery and greatness.”
Brown is author of three books and a former broadcaster-turned-legislator-turned-keynote speaker. He’s spent three decades studying the science of achievement. He focuses on achievement, collaboration and bottom-line results.
“Your level of gratitude determines your level of happiness, as well as your potential for success. It’s difficult to be happy without gratitude.”
Burg is author of The Go-Giver, Endless Referrals and several other sales and marketing books. He was named one of the Most Influential Leaders by the American Management Association and was named one of the Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World by Richtopia. One of his focuses is on the free enterprise system, believing that the amount of money you make is directly proportional to how many people you serve.
“It takes discipline to focus only on high-value targets instead of giving in to the temptation of the low-hanging fruit life serves up daily.”
Divine is an expert martial artist, former U.S. Navy SEAL, entrepreneur and author of several books including Unbeatable Mind. He focuses on mental toughness, emotional resilience, intuitive leadership and a healthy spirit.
“Don’t be afraid. Work hard. Study. Always be a learner and get your confidence to the level where you can, in fact, purse that career and don’t let anyone hold you back.”
Dwyer-Owens is author of Live RICH: How to build success in your company and your life with a proven Code of Values, business leader, motivational speaker. She appeared on Undercover Boss and focuses on respect, integrity, customers and having fun in the process of running any form of business with a set of core values.
Meridith Elliott Powell
“The moment that you take ownership, you take responsibility. You have responsibility for your happiness. You have responsibility for your ethics. The responsibility for who you take to the world.”
Elliott Powell is a growth strategist and author. She is a Certified Speaking Professional and member of the Forbes Coaching Council. She focuses on sales growth strategy, motivation derived from struggle and innovative leadership.
“Inside of each day, we have 1,440 minutes. Fearless people maximize those little moments by leaning into discomfort and taking calculated risks. They know that fearlessness isn’t just a mindset; it’s about taking action.”
Fletcher was one of the first female sports agents in professional sports and is now an entrepreneur and author of four books including Fearless at Work: A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating and The Business of Being the Best. She focuses on strengthening relationships, teamwork and negotiations.
“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.”
Godin is the author of 18 bestselling books including What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn) and an entrepreneur. He was one of three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Marketing Hall of Fame in 2018. He focuses on leadership, change, motivation and marketing.
“Everybody comes to a point in life where they want to quit. But it’s what you do at that moment that determines who you are.”
Goggins is an endurance athlete, retired U.S. Navy Seal who completed SEAL training, U.S. Army Ranger School and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training, is the Guinness World Record holder for most pull-ups in 24 hours (4,030 to be exact) and author of Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds. He focuses on personal accountability and how to go beyond motivation to achieve personal best.
Yuval Noah Harari
“Consistency is the playground of dull minds.”
Harari is a researcher, lecturer and author. He focuses on macro-historical questions such as “Did people become happier as history unfolded?” “Are there relationships between history and biology? and “What are the greatest challenges we should focus on now?”
“You’re not going anywhere if you don’t spend time on the relationships with your coworkers, your mentors, your clients, or your superiors. Focus on the relationship first and the rest will start to work its way out.”
Havens comes from a line of entertainers, so he’s not the typical professional business speaker. He’s funny and infuses a lot of humor into his business focuses: leadership and generations working together to achieve goals.
“When you stop trying to be all things to all people, you can stop worrying about being liked and start building relationships that allow you to be loved. If you are not creating a negative response from somebody, you’re probably not very fascinating to anybody.”
Hogshead is a New York Times bestselling author of several books including How the World Sees You, member of National Speakers Association Hall of Fame and an executive. She focuses on how to use your existing gifts to be more fascinating and successful.
“It is the little things, done consistently, that make the biggest difference.”
Horsager is the author of The Trust Edge and The Daily Edge. He’s a researcher and expert on trust in work and life. He focuses on helping leaders, professionals and organizations become more trusted in their industry.
“Most people fail because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to succeed.”
Iannarino is the author of several books including Eat Their Lunch. He’s an entrepreneur, speaker and trainer. He focuses on relationships, overcoming obstacles and effective decision-making.
“Execution creates momentum. Today make a choice to accelerate your completion… of anything… just get it done! If you constantly wait to make something perfect the world won’t see it.”
James is a partner in the professional education company Thought Leaders Global and a member of the League of Heroic Public Speakers. She focuses on leveraging focus to pay attention to what matters most at work and in life and practical strategies for those personal and professional situations.
“Don’t focus on you. Focus on what you can give others.”
John is an author, founder of fashion line FUBU, marketer and member of the TV show Shark Tank. He focuses on goal setting and achievement strategies, sacrifice, hard work and perseverance.
Phil M. Jones
“There are two types of people in this world: those who resist change in favor of nostalgia and those who move with the times and create a better future.”
Jones is the author of Exactly What to Say, Exactly How To Sell and Exactly Where to Start. He focuses on change, confidence and action.
“You build your dream from the ground up, one brick at a time.”
Kennedy is the author of seven books, a television and movie actress, mother of eight children, award-winning salesperson and a member of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame. She focuses on sales, marketing, motivation and balancing it all – sometimes with a song and a dance.
“Whatever you believe right now. Whatever you believe in what is possible for you in 2018 in the marketplace is absolutely true and true for you only. So the way to maximize productivity in 2018 is to start out with you own psychology. Take an inventory about, ‘What do I believe? Why do I believe it? What’s stopping me from getting to my next level?’”
Lier is the host of his own TV show “Your True Potential” and a regular on HSN as “America’s Coach.” He focuses on achievement and offers inspiration and strategies to reach goals.
“The lesson is clear: quickly adopting future trends rather than clinging to yesterday’s success is the only way to ensure long-term survival.”
Linkner is author of two New York Times bestselling books Hacking Innovation and Disciplined Dreaming. He focuses on innovation, creativity, reinvention and hyper-growth leadership.
“You do not have to be an expert. You don’t need to have a PhD. You just need to take a step back and observe what’s happening around you. Do it mindfully and you will identify opportunities that others may miss.”
Mansharamani is the author of Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst. He focuses on developing a broader view of the world through a generalist mindset to get ahead in your careers and lives.
“Never, ever give up.”
Nyad is living proof that success is met by believing in those words: She is the only person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. She was 64 and it was her fifth attempt. She focuses on motivation, perseverance and staying focused on your dreams.
“Fairness isn’t a given. Watch out for the warning signs and choose to surround yourself with people who play fair, work fair and live life with integrity.”
Podesta is a therapist, radio/TV personality and author of multiple books including Happiness is Serious Business and Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People. She focuses on the psychology of sales, leadership, change, life balance, team building and getting your act together.
“Failure doesn’t mean the game is over. It means try again with experience.”
Schlesinger is a Harvard Business School professor, former CEO of several organizations, college president, author and entrepreneur. He focuses on navigating change, accommodating ambiguity, surmounting complexity and motivating teams to achieve common goals.
“There are two ways to see the world. Some people see the thing they want. And some people see the thing that prevents them from getting the thing they want.”
Sinek is an optimist. In addition to his bright-eyed view, he is one of the most popular TED Talk speakers and author of several bestselling books including Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why. He focuses on the patterns of how great leaders and organizations think, act and communicate.
“Soft skills do produce hard sales results.”
Stanley is author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success and was named one of Salesforce’s most influential sales figures in the 21st century. Some areas she focuses on: the art and neuroscience of sales, accountability and responsibility.
“Things change for the better when we take responsibility for our own thoughts, decisions and actions.”
Thomas, Ph.D, is an author, speaker and audible.com Audie Awards finalist for his podcast. “ET” focuses on overcoming obstacles and motivation to achieve sometimes unthinkable goals.
“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.”
Vaynerchuk is the author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, an entrepreneur and angel investor. He focuses on winning, personal branding, social media and storytelling,
“Don’t be fooled. Creativity does not reside in one special person. And it is not in one special place. It is everywhere and in everyone who has the courage to tap into his or her full potential.”
Wahl is a graffiti artist, speed painter, author and entrepreneur who mixes all those talents into his presentations. He paints thinkers, leaders and cultural icons while giving presentations focused on creativity, personal motivation and the drive to success.
“Procrastination is the greatest dream-killer of all, yet we often don’t recognize how destructive it can be.”
Wayshak regularly contributes to Inc., Hubspot and Fast Company and is the creator of the data-driven, science-based sales methodology in his book Game Plan Selling. He focuses on selling strategy and team motivation.
“Don’t just think. Don’t just talk. Don’t just dream. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that you actually do. So: DO!”
Willink is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, podcaster, leadership instructor and author of several books including Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. He received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for service in the Iraq War. He focuses on leadership, discipline and teamwork.