Best Motivational Speakers FAQs

Best Motivational Speakers: What to expect from them in their Industry

Best Motivational Speakers: What you need to know before you get a speaker to inspire, motivate, and transform

You are looking to find the Best Motivational Speaker. But the moment you start your search, you realize how many speakers are in the market, and it’s easy to be completely overwhelmed. You’re acutely aware that your choice of speaker is absolutely key to the success of your event.  As easily as your event can turn out to be fantastic, so too can it be a complete disaster if you have a speaker who bombs. Lorne Sulcas looked into these questions that are mostly asked.

So here are some important questions to help inform and guide your choice of the Best Motivational Speaker for your needs:

What are the differences between Motivational Speakers, Transformational Speakers, Inspirational Speakers, and Keynote Speakers?

Motivational Speakers

Motivational Speakers aim to motivate and inspire people into action. The Best Motivational Speakers help create an emotional desire and mental drive that will allow people to access and invest more energy and purpose in their goals. A motivated person is a more productive person – and one who is driven to succeed and find solutions.  Organizations will often hire the Best Motivational Speakers for an opening or closing keynote to raise expectations or excitement before implementing changes in a company, or when being challenged with low employee morale, or to assist in reaching a competitive edge, as is often required by, for example, sports teams. The Best Motivational Speakers will typically have a conversation with the leadership of the organization and/or the meeting planner sometime before the event to gain a greater insight into the context and even challenges that the organization faces. The speaker will then prepare accordingly and address those factors specifically.

A message delivered by the average Motivational Speaker is less likely to endure if it is not acted upon immediately, and if not made relevant and relatable to the listener. The listener might be able to tell you that they enjoyed the talk and that the Motivational Speaker was good, but this is likely where it will end. You might even find that an audience member might even have difficulty recalling any strategy that can actually be implemented in practice. So precision and clarity of the message play a key role in it ‘landing’ with the audience. A motivational message will have its maximum effect if the message is clear, precise and the listener can personally identify with the message – and then can act upon it in immediately.

The Best Motivational Speakers are Transformational Speakers. 

Transformational Speakers

Transformational Speakers are often also ‘undersold’ simply as motivational speakers. But there is a difference: Where messages delivered by most Motivational Speakers carry most of their weight in the short term, the message delivered by a Transformational Speaker has a long-lasting impact. The message is easy to recall and implement long after the message has been delivered. Transformational Speakers intend to initiate or bring forth some form of transformation in human beings. They help motivate and transform behavior. They provide strategies to help people develop more meaningful and successful lives. They help raise questions around perceptions, help awaken new beliefs, new awareness, and elicit new behavior. Transformational Speakers have experience and in-depth insight into human behavior and the challenges we typically face. They are knowledgeable, empathetic, and intuitive. They just know how to make a personal connection with their audience, even though a room full of people is addressed. Through their exceptional insight and understanding of human behavior, they are able to help audience members with personal growth and leadership development. They can move listeners deeply. Transformational Speakers are sincere, humble, genuine, and are able to make the listener feel that the message that is being delivered is directly aimed at him or her personally. Messages delivered by Transformational Speakers are usually so clear and powerful that listeners will be able to clearly recall strategies given to them several months after they have heard it and still be able to implement what they have heard into practice.

Inspirational Speakers

One key difference between Motivational Speakers and Inspirational Speakers is the purpose of the message. An Inspirational Speaker will typically tell their own personal story. It is typically one of overcoming difficulties in severely adverse circumstances. Contrary to the task at hand of a Motivational Speaker to address specific issues that the organization faces, the Inspirational Speaker speaks to inspire with their own personal story. It is not the purpose of an Inspirational Speaker to change behavior, give strategies to increase sales or to help an organization to develop a competitive edge. Inspirational Speakers will rather focus on their own history and retell it to the audience. They will tell, for example, how they overcame or survived a huge challenge, climbed a mountain, ride a long distance with a bicycle, or built a company up to a huge success. These are the type of stories aimed to inspire the audience to believe that if we try, we can do the same.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers are Public Speakers who deliver the primary speech at the event, or as we refer to it, the Keynote Address. A Keynote Speaker will typically deliver a speech that addresses the objectives of the meeting, at events such as Award Functions, Conferences, Summits, Annual Meetings or Training Programs. The speech that is delivered by a Keynote Speaker is often viewed as the highlight of the event and many times is the drawcard and main reason why people will attend. Keynote Speakers are usually entertaining and inspiring and often are captivating storytellers. Their speeches are very specific and relevant towards the outcome that the organizers wish to accomplish. The keynote speech can also be industry specific with the objective to educate. The general purpose of a keynote can be to educate, motivate or to inspire. Keynote Speakers often deliver their speech at the beginning of an event, to set the tone for the rest of the meeting, or at the end of an event, to have the audience leave on a high. The Best Motivational Speakers are very often the keynote speakers at events.

Why should I hire a Motivational Speaker and what should I expect from them?

Motivational Speakers speak with the purpose to motivate an audience into taking action or changing their behavior. The Best Motivational Speakers will use various emotive methods to relate to their audience and to inspire action. They are often hired by companies to inspire, motivate and train or help employees to set goals and strategies and leave a lasting impression on the audience. They use professional, and often entertaining platform skills to make a listener feel like his goals are within reach. A highly professional and well-trained Motivational Speaker will typically do his homework before he engages with the audience. Often, a company will have some particular problem or request in mind, such as a desire to improve teamwork between employees or help employees understand what is required to beat their competition. The real task at hand for Best Motivational Speakers is to get employees to want to do something instead of an organization having to use other methods such as politics, demoralizing evaluations, rules, intimidation, financial incentives, or threats to get results. Motivational Speakers have the ability to raise employee engagement, raise energy levels and the willingness amongst employees to want to invest themselves in their work. It is not the work of Business Motivational Speakers to build job skills, but rather to strengthen the corporate culture and to inspire employees in understanding the power of working with the objectives of a leadership team and engage with the goals of the organization. The Best Motivational Speakers help leadership teams to understand the power of building trust and unity with the rest of the workforce.

How important is Storytelling in a Motivational Presentation?

Top Motivational Speakers are experts in telling stories. Storytelling allows listeners to identify with the characters in the story, yet feel safe enough about not being personally confronted and becoming defensive. Storytelling has the power to break down defenses and open the listeners’ willingness to become part of the events that playoff in the story. It does not matter what type of speaker you get. If he or she is able to tell a captivating story, you have an audience always willing to listen.

When is the best time to slot in your Keynote and Best Motivational Speakers?

The Best Motivational Speakers should be able to adapt to any time slot on the agenda. Opening Motivational Speakers play a pivotal role in getting attendees to engage with purpose. A willing attendee will listen with purpose, to understand and learn. It is therefore also important for Event Organizers to understand exactly what to expect before they start looking for the Best Motivational Speakers. You will want your audience to be ‘fired up’ and looking forward to the rest of the event. Closing Motivational Speakers change the way attendees feel about an event before going home. It makes the difference between simply learning a lot, and taking that knowledge back to their workplace with enthusiasm and the willingness to implement what they have learned. It also changes the way attendees will remember a conference and thereby increasing the chances that he will return to the next conference with high expectations. You want attendees to start with high expectations and to leave on a high note.

How big are the audiences that Motivational Speakers normally speak to?

The Best Motivational Speakers should be used to speaking to really any type and size of audience. Typically a speaker might be asked to address audiences from anywhere between 100 to 300 people. But great Conference Keynote Speakers can easily address 1500 members at world conferences. There is no exception to the rule. A speaker can also be invited as an After-Dinner Speaker to address as few as 20 members. The best way for an event planner to prepare for your event is to do your homework, read reviews, and go on actual recommendations and testimonials about particular speakers. An experienced speaker with frequent exposure to all kinds of situations should be able to help you prepare well and even assist you with some good tips and advice if you are dealing with a situation around your event that you have not encountered before.

For how long do Motivational Speakers typically speak?

A Motivational Speaker normally speaks for between 45 and 90 minutes. But this can always be discussed, depending on what the meeting planner’s needs are and what the speaker offers. An experienced International Top Motivational Speaker who has spoken in all types of situations should comfortably be able to adapt to the time slot and fit into various roles. Whether your needs are for a Business Motivational Speaker, a Conference Keynote Speaker or as an After-Dinner Speaker, a speaker who has trouble adapting their timing is likely not the right person for the job. The Best Motivational Speakers should also be able to advise you on what timing might work well and what might not.

How much should I expect to pay for a Motivational Speaker?

It is possible to find Motivational Speakers who are willing to talk for a very small fee, or maybe in exchange for their expenses, or even for free. There are also Motivational Speakers, typically some Famous Motivational Speakers or some Celebrity Speakers, who will charge you nothing less than a few $100,000. But certainly, a Top Motivational Speaker who is worth his weight in gold, will at a minimum, value himself enough also to charge a reasonable fee. There is no fixed rule, but that tends to range anywhere between $5000 and $50,000. But there are quite a few considerations here. How does your budget look? What is your objective of having the speaker? What is the brief you want the speaker to fulfill? If you’re simply looking for someone just to kill time on your agenda, then, by all means, look for a speaker who is willing to charge you only say, $300. But if you are looking for one of the Best Motivational Speakers who’s worth his salt, and who’s going to actually help the organization’s bottom line, you should expect to pay accordingly. Some of the Best Motivational Speakers might even be willing to negotiate and take into consideration what you can afford. But in the same way, as a doctor or a lawyer cannot or would not discount their fee, it must be remembered that so too does a Professional Motivational Speaker make their living from providing a definite value from their speaking services.  And with the Best Motivational Speakers, that value should exceed the fee they charge. Prices charged by speakers mostly depend on experience, availability, and fame. If budget is not an obstacle for you, you could consider these top 40 ranked-list. These are the Top 40 Famous Motivational Speakers and Authors who rank at the top of the Alexa Rank on the internet. Some of them are: Brian TracyTony RobbinsGary VaynerchuckBob ProctorJoe VitaleSuze OrmanMatt MorrisJohn MaxwellMarianne WilliamsonT. Harv EkerLoral LangemeierMalcolm GladwellEric ThomasNick VujicicLes Brown. However if budget is a consideration for you, you would probably want to look elsewhere, bearing in mind that generally, you can expect to get what you pay for.

Is it my safest choice to choose a Celebrity Speaker from a Motivational Speakers List?

There are certainly some excellent Celebrity Speakers, but there are also some horrible ones. Being a celebrity does not define that person as a good Public Speaker, and less so as a Top Inspirational Speaker. Just because a person has achieved fame, does not guarantee that they are effective or powerful communicators nor that they have a relevant or powerful message.  Moreover, chances are you will pay a far higher fee for a celebrity than you will do for a better-trained and more experienced Professional Speaker who might even do a better job at fulfilling your brief. Having a celebrity at your event might be great to fill the seats. But to have your event be a resounding and unforgettable success, and to be booked again and again, you need to have more than just that. Some of the Best Motivational Speakers are true thought leaders in their field. Top Motivational Speakers will bring some humor to your event – a key to creating a memorable experience for your audience. The Best Motivational Speaker will make your audience feel appreciated, inspired and motivated.

Whether you do or don’t hire a celebrity as your speaker is, of course, your choice. Either way, don’t shortchange your audience. Don’t be blindly or immediately seduced simply by a celebrity’s fame.  Do your homework. Go on real recommendations and testimonials from people with credibility. Invest in what your delegates really need. Choose the Best Motivational Speaker for the job, who will leave your audience with impactful lasting ‘take-aways’ and wanting to come back again and again.

Should I hire a speaker on the Top 10 Motivational Speakers List?

Because there is no accurate way to benchmark the actual Top 10 Motivational Speakers, there is no established standard where the Best Motivational Speakers get ranked as number 1, 2, 3, etc., like there is for example, in a sport like tennis.  With tennis players, their results speak for themselves.  But how good or bad a speaker is, is necessarily subjective, and often even hearsay or opinion. The people who hire speakers often don’t know to look beyond the speakers’ marketing ‘hype’ to see what the actual results are that the speaker has achieved with and for his clients.  Usually, Top 10 Motivational Speakers lists that do exist are a bloggers’ subjective or even ‘layperson’ personal selection of their 10 Best Motivational Speakers they are aware of or have come across on the internet after doing some -often cursory- research. And so, many times, this research yields only the speakers who perhaps have the best SEO (i.e. who appears highest on a Google search, something that can be engineered, not necessarily earned) or who are –or who hire- the best online marketers, not necessarily the Best Motivational Speakers.

But there are literally hundreds of Top Motivational Speakers around the world who do make a profound difference and who are worth every penny of their fee. Read more about how to find your Best Motivational Speaker in the FAQ that follows.

Best Motivational Speakers list: Who should I choose?

Choosing the Best Motivational Speaker for your event is a significant decision.  It’s a decision that requires a significant investment of resources and one that affects the audience, the organization, the budget, and even your own reputation. You have one chance. There are no ‘do-overs’. And so you want to get it right. It is certainly true that there is no shortage of International Motivational Speakers around the world today from whom to choose. Chances are that you will find a Best Motivational Speakers List with many speakers, perhaps even in close vicinity of your area. And your challenge will be to choose one, not knowing if a particular speaker will really have the ability to make the impact on your audience that you want, or if that person is simply trying to climb on the bandwagon of the illusion of making ‘easy’ money as a speaker. A huge majority of people who call themselves Motivational Speakers today are people who have assigned themselves this title after perhaps managing to speak to an audience a couple of times or having had an unusual experience, or perhaps even having written a book, but who do not have the proper training, skills or experience required to deliver the real desired results of a Professional Motivational Speaker. If you’re looking for a speaker, first ask yourself: what are the outcomes and take-aways that you want for your audience? And is this speaker really able to get the desired results? Because the speaker industry allows anyone to simply call themselves a Motivational Speaker, it has become a big challenge to Events Planners and Conference Organizers to sift through thousands of people on Speaker Bureaus’ Best Motivational Speakers Lists, and other places on the internet. Often on sites like these, self-acclaimed, or less qualified speakers and experienced, professional Top Motivational Speakers are viewed in the same light. It can become an almost impossible task to differentiate one from another. The only way that you can determine whether you get a Top Motivational Speaker who can live up to your expectations, is to do your own research. And there are plenty of listing services online for that. The problem however with many Speaker Bureau websites, although by no means all of them, is that it has become a numbers game. It can become an impossible task to distinguish between quality and quantity. Some of these websites even clearly state in their terms and conditions that they do not do checks on content or the quality of their listed speakers. The intent may very well also be that they want to give everyone a fair chance. However, it does not make things easier for a Meeting Planner or the person trying to make this speaker choice. So, there are a number of key things to do before making this important and potentially expensive decision:

    1. Find out for how long a Motivational Speaker has been working in this industry. You will want to have an experienced speaker who has enough real skills and experience in this industry to know how to handle unforeseen circumstances, how to read and adapt to his audience, and how to relate to and impact them. The Best Motivational Speakers should also be in touch with innovation, time- and cultural shifts that are happening currently. In other words, he or she must be able to understand current behavior and trends and be able to relate to them.
    2. Look at some good Motivational Speakers Youtube Videos and compare that with some of the Motivational Speakers you have in mind. If it is only promotional slides, you may be tricked by good marketing material. Try to see the speaker in action and look at her Testimonials page to see who her audience is and what they actually say about her.  The Best Motivational Speakers will always have audience members who are excited enough to share their thoughts. Video Testimonials are the best and most accurate reflection of the audience members’ feelings, take-aways, and impressions, as they cannot be manufactured or tampered with.
    3. Work through your Best Motivational Speakers List. Look at Motivational Speakers’ websites and check who has actually used their services before. If they have some big-name companies listed as clients, that is probably a good sign but is probably not enough on its own. Look at their reviews and recommendations.  Watch as many full video testimonials as you can from actual audience members. Then make a list, both with the check marks and the crosses for future reference, and build on that.
    4. Do some of your own research about some speakers who are listed on Speaker Bureau Websites. This will assist you in making informed decisions. Ensure you are able to understand the similarities and differences amongst the concepts of Motivational Speakers, Inspirational Speakers, Keynote Speakers, and Transformational Speakers (a term used rarely because the general public is not familiar with it). (Please feel free to go to the first FAQ in this section for all the information on the differences between these types of speakers.) After Dinner Speakers, Conference Keynote Speakers, Business Motivational Speakers, Leadership Speakers, Public Speakers, International Speakers, and Corporate Speakers can all fall in one of the above categories. Just be aware that speakers use these terms to show their association with previous successes and events they have been involved with or give preference to.
    5. Look at the speakers’ promotional material and platforms. Are they really professional and top-class? Speakers are in the business of understanding people and working with them. That is where their passion lies.  The Best Motivational Speakers take this very seriously.
    6. Have an actual conversation with a few Motivational Speakers before you make a choice. Speak to them at length. Establish their integrity, sincerity, and authenticity. Certainly, the way they relate to you should also be an indicator of how important their audiences are to them too. The Best Motivational Speakers travel a lot and the manner and speed of response to your requests will definitely reflect on the personality of the Motivational Speaker.
    7. Above all, make an informed decision and a business –not just emotional- choice when choosing the Best Motivational Speaker for your event.  Because then everyone wins.

Mark Suddaby Category Director at Tesco 1 69x69Your presentation was brilliant, Lorne. In my job, I hear a lot of motivational speakers and much of it is a rehash of other presentations or literature. This was different…… Pure, base animal behaviors captured through tireless detailed observation and then expertly translated into our world of human beings in the workplace. An intellectual triumph.” –  Mark Suddaby, Category Director, Tesco, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

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Lorne Sulcas - The Big Cat Guy


Lorne Sulcas - The Big Cat Guy
Top International Motivational Speaker
Charleston, South Carolina, 29407
Tel:(USA) +1 (770) 999-0447
Tel:(ZA) +27 (72) 833-3555


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