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Event Tips The Best Motivational Speakers in the World

The Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Motivational speakers have the ability to transform our outlook on the world. They often use their own unique story to inspire and motivate their audience – empowering them to make positive changes that will enable them to reach their full potential.

Whether they are speaking to employees in the workplace or pupils at school, they have a way of telling their story to ensure that it is relatable. If you have never listened to a motivational speaker before – either via a Ted Talk, YouTube or in person – then you should. Not sure who to listen to first? Well, luckily we have compiled some of the well-known greats and some of our own expertise. The team here spend a lot of time watching and reviewing speakers from the circuit, so we drew upon their knowledge to find out who they think will help while away the January blues. 

Matt King 

Matt was paralysed from the neck down in a rugby accident when he was just 17 years old. Having been set for a career in rugby he was now dependent on a ventilator and required a full-time carer.

In his talks, Matt discusses the importance of not focusing on the one negative in your life when there are plenty of positives to be found. This is powerful coming from someone who could easily have been be forgiven for losing sight of the positives. He shows that you can achieve anything no matter what your situation.

Today, he is a qualified solicitor, author, mouth-painter, skier and global marathon runner.

Motivational quote: “ I refused to be defined by what I couldn’t do or didn’t have. I knew inside I was the same person — the same stubborn, determined Matt.”

Diana Nyad

At the age of 64, Diana fulfilled a dream that had been 30 years in the making – she swam 100-miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. She had set long-distance swim records in the 1970s but was thwarted in her bid to overcome this challenge. However, she was determined not to give up.

Diana talks to her audience about how to mentally prepare for such a challenge – because that is equally as important as being physically ready – and asks her audience: ‘What will you do with your wild, precious life?’


A speaker can have the ability to transform the way you see the world 

Her mantra was to ‘find a way’ – and she did.

Motivational quote: “That down feeling, quitting, was far worse than suffering it out to the end, because that decision to quit haunts you and bleeds over into your outlook on everything else, just as not quitting buoys you for all else.”

Nick Vujicic

Born with neither arms nor legs, Nick has overcome challenges – including ignorance and discrimination – but decided to use his experience and ‘disability’ to start conversations that would change lives.

Telling his story helped him to find his purpose in life – through which he brings others hope and a desire to make a positive change.

Motivational quote: “Life is not about having, it’s about being. You can surround yourself with all that money can buy, and you’d still be as miserable as a human can be. I know people with perfect bodies who don’t have half the happiness I’ve found.”

Hyeonseo Lee

Hyeonseo Lee survived extreme adversity in North Korea, finally escaping at the age of 14 to go into hiding as a refugee in China. She reveals how leaving the country didn’t mean that she had left danger behind her and talks through her experience and the identity crisis she experienced once living in South Korea.


‘The Girl with Seven Names’ motivates audiences with her hope for the future and courage despite the harrowing things she has seen and been through.

Motivational quote: “I hope you remember that if you encounter an obstacle on the road, don’t think of it as an obstacle at all… think of it as a challenge to find a new path on the road less travelled.”

Miles Hilton-Barber

World record-breaking adventurer Miles Hilton-Barber has sledged 250 miles across Antarctica, trekked 150 miles through the Sahara Desert on foot and piloted a 55-day, 21,000 km microflight from Sydney to London – to name just a few. If the challenges themselves weren’t impressive enough, Miles lost his sight when he was in his 20s.

‘The Blind Adventurer’ - as he is known - is able to inspire his audience with the sheer amount he has been able to achieve despite being blind.

Motivational quote: “The only limits in our lives are those we accept ourselves”

We also asked the team to weigh in with some of their favourite picks for the 'best motivational speakers'. 


Miles Hilton-Barber presenting at our 2017 Knowledge Guild showcase

Charles Hazlewood

Team opinion:

Our MD, Nick, is a huge fan of Charles Hazlewood’s motivational speeches. A little different to the usual inspirational speaker, Charles is an international conductor who’s spent years winning the hearts and minds of those around the world with his ground-breaking musical projects.

Outline of speech:

Moving audiences to laughter and occasionally tears, Charles’s speeches focus on teamwork, leadership, authenticity, trust, creativity and change, asking us to think a little differently about these topics and consider how music can question our perceptions.  

Quickfire facts:

  • Charles founded the first orchestra of disabled musicians
  • Charles’ orchestra – the paraorchestra – performed alongside Coldplay at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games

We agree, Charles uses music in such a powerful way, his work is truly uplifting. This video of him in action might help alleviate some of that January ennui.

Stuart Pearce

Team opinion:

Our Head of Account Management, Adam, loves Stuart Pearce. Adam says “not everyone knows his motivational story of becoming a pro-footballer, overcoming the adversity of coping with being told he was not good enough, yet not giving up, keeping his job as an electrician while all the time still travelling round playing non-league football. Then overcoming the huge heartbreak of missing a penalty at the World Cup 1990 – to step up and score against Spain in the quarter-final at Euro 96. What a bloke… not often I am speechless but when he came in the office, I was close to tears…

Outline of speech:

Stuart’s speeches cover his ability to overcome adversity, his expansive football experience, his leadership skills and ability to coach teammates from all different backgrounds.

Quickfire facts:

  • Stuart’s old manager Brian Clough would take the team for a drink every night before the had a game
  • Stuart has seen The Stranglers perform over 300 times

Michael Johnson

Also inspired by people from the sporting world, our Head of Operations, Rebecca, backs Michael Johnson as one of the best motivational speakers.

Team opinion:

 “He is such a presence. He has such experience and achievement against the odds, plus he’s a lovely guy and very charming! What more could you ask for!”

Outline of speech:

Michael speaks about his Olympic career and how he managed to establish himself as one of most formidable sportspeople in the world. The sprinter also draws on how he managed to motivate himself during his tough career and how he made the most of the opportunities his talent offered him.

Quickfire facts:

  • Michael returned the gold medals he won for the Sydney 2000 Sydney 4 x 400m relay after Antonio Pettigrew (one of the other sprinters) admitted to doping.
  • Michael’s best piece of advice is to make sure that you pursue what you are passionate for.

Natalia Cohen

Team opinion:

Rebecca also loves Natalia Cohen because she completely defied the ordinary. “Natalia and the coxless crew undertook a completely epic challenge without any previous experience. Just four normal women who did something amazing. Natalia is natural, warm and personable and super inspiring. I watched the film – I cried and then had to stop myself from signing up to some crazy expedition!”

Outline of speech:

Natalia talks through her incredible journey of crossing the Pacific, her speeches empower others to reach their potential, push through their self-limiting mental boundaries and overcome the challenges that life throws at them. 


Natalia Cohen sailing across the Pacific 

Quickfire facts:

  • At first, the team had to turn back after only 10 days due to a flood in our of their hatches
  • Natalia spent 9 months in a 29ft boat

Normal people achieving against the odds is definitely the type of inspiration we need for 2018!

Marc Koska

Team Opinion:

Lastly, Matt, one of our Event Coordinators thinks Marc Koska is one of the best motivational speakers. “Marc’s story, what he has done and what he intends to do in future is just so inspiring. The non-reusable syringe seems so obvious now, but hearing about the struggles it took to bring it to market is fascinating.”

Outline of speech:

It took three minutes to design the reusable syringe, but seventeen years to manufacture. Marc’s speech focuses on the sheer persistence and obstacles that he had to overcome to implement his product and finally compromise the spread of AIDS through Africa.

Quickfire facts:

  • If Marc could speak at any event, past or future, it would be to a full house at Wembley Stadium
  • He would most like to share a stadium with Anousheh Ansari or Scott Parazynski

Hopefully, our list inspires you to discover some of the best motivational speakers in the world. 

For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk.

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