Having presented nearly 1000 times at live events (and hosted over 470 episodes of my entrepreneur podcast, Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do), I am fascinated by what makes an audience lean into a speech. It is clear that sometimes audiences connect more than others. I like it better when this happens, and so do the participants. Why is it that some speakers have the ability to engage an audience and others do not? It is leadership. Therefore you would think that leadership keynote speakers would be the best at getting people to connect. But the opposite is often true. Some of the most mundane speakers are those who talk about leadership.
How come people who speak about leadership cannot lead their audiences on a journey? It is the paradox of the world of speaking. But I am on a personal mission to stop boring meetings.
Leadership Keynote Speakers Take The Audience On A Journey
As a leadership keynote speaker I am very focused on taking the people in the audience on a journey via an entertaining keynote. People want the mix of engagement and actionable content. The content matters, but so does the way the speaker weaves his or her story.
Not all leadership speakers are world champion level presenters. Too many thought leaders are just tossing out recycled ideas in an average way. They think leadership and management at a company will get excited about their talks, but often they seem as if they came from a university catalog. They are not modeling high-level performance behavior as motivational speakers, and people know it. But with tens of thousands of people labeled as “speakers”, it is hard to figure out where to start when looking for the right leadership keynote speaker for an event.
Top leadership speakers have the ability to spike employee engagement with their programs. They are experts in corporate culture and customer service. When you are seeking a leadership keynote speaker, you must find more than a bestselling author. Not all business speakers are the same. Experience working in the real world is important in a leadership expert.
Change Is Real
Inspired leadership comes from being able to relate to changes in culture. It is also about responding to changes in the realities of running a business. Change management is a learned skill and one that is paramount in all leadership keynote speakers you will want to hire. Too many speakers are relaying the same messages as they were telling five years ago. And many have not struggled with the realities of running a business. (I have sadly had my share of ups and downs).
The problem with this is that too many associate fame and positioning as the same thing as being a great leadership keynote speaker. NOPE. I have made a life-long study of speakers, and there is no connection to fame and really connecting with a group of people. People lean in when they see themselves in the speaker.
Leadership when facing change is what people need. Too many of us feel all alone when our cheese gets moved. This is why finding the right speaker makes all the difference in the success of a live event.
The Magic List of the BEST Leadership Keynote Speakers
There is no magic list of the BEST Leadership Keynote Speakers. Inc had a list of 100, but while many were amazing, who really knows? The list is too long for vetting of all the people mentioned. I do get excited by lists of great speakers. I have been a student of professional speakers for twenty years and even though I am a keynote speaker, I am still a fan of others who present for a living.
Below I will give you my list of the 10 BEST Leadership Keynote Speakers. I know each of these people and have seen them speak. I hope you will look at each of them and discover what makes them great on stage and off.
Before you read the list, I have one caveat: If you are seeking a speaker for a live event, please take a look at my offerings. I love to refer amazing speakers (and it is not easy to impress me)…. But I do not want to send you away from this page on my website without making the ask to add me to the short list of leadership keynote speakers whom you will consider. Check out my offerings on the main page of ThomSinger.com. – Thank You.
My Recommendations: 10 Leadership Keynote Speakers
(In random order) – Click through to their websites to learn more. Each of these people has amazing content, real life experiences, and a heart of gold. While some are sort of “famous”, they are the kindest people you will ever meet… and each is equally amazing on stage as a leadership keynote speaker.
The Paradox of Potential
Having potential does not mean you will achieve results. In my work with companies I study the relationship that people have with their own potential and how it relates to performance. As a leadership keynote speaker my focus is results. I am only the right fit to speak when the desired outcome is movement.
My work is about attaining the possible and gets people and teams looking at the gap that exists between potential and performance. There is no magic bridge that can be created to cross that chasm. Managing your potential and that of those on your team is a strong element of leadership.
As a speaker or an executive coach I am not trying to prove anything other than to start a conversation that lasts inside a company long after my presentation and workshops are over. The way to get people to achieve more results is by knowing where they are going. What does success look like?
Finding The Right Leaderships Keynote Speakers
When you are seeking speakers, there are many ways to identify your options. If I am not the right fit, and you do not see anyone on the above list that is perfect for your group, I have three suggestions:
- Ask your past speakers. If someone has connected well with your audience and they were a great partner to work with, ask them for their advice. Speakers often get to see many presentations. And they have opinions. Those who understand your audience can make great recommendations.
- Ask other meeting planners. Seek out your peers in similar organizations and ask them who they have worked with in the past.
- Call a speakers bureau. Speakers bureaus will partner with you to discover several experienced speakers in your price range.
- Call me. I love to brainstorm ideas for who can speak at your event, even if I am not on your list. My commitment to the speaking business is strong, and it is important to me that your are discovering speakers who will “wow” your audience.
Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies / EmCee. He regularly speaks to association and corporate audiences. He can be reached at (512) 970-0398 or thom (at) thomsinger.com.