If you are planning an event or conference in 2020, and you want to have some speakers that will be engaging, inspirational and motivational, where do you start looking?
I have written a blog post which might help you:
So let’s assume that you are planning a conference, and, having chosen the theme and messaging of your conference, you are now tasked with finding the best inspirational and motivational talent to project that theme on to your willing audience.
You might even have started to put a list together. But if you’ve never seen any of them live on stage before, you might have to rely on referrals and recommendations – especially from other speakers – as to which ones are the best motivational speakers for your conference.
But good news! I have put together a list for you to consider as well. Being a motivational professional speaker myself, it was tempting to put myself on the list! I speak largely about change and resilience and, as someone who lives with mental illness every day, I speak about how I (and the audience) can reboot your thinking to better deal with adversity and keep moving forward towards being the best version of yoruself.
So, if you are interested in checking out my work, including video content of me in action on stage, you can do that here.
But as good as the speakers on this list are, it might not answer the question: “Who is the best motivational speaker in Australia right now?”, because that is, of course, so subjective.
This list is by no way a definitive one for everyone. I’m sure you might read this list and think ‘well, what about …?’ and rattle off more motivational or inspirational speakers that don’t appear here.
This list is, however, made up of people who I know for a fact are busy (which means they do a good job and get good referrals and recommendations from past clients), and that I have either spoken at the same event as, or seen speaking at a conference live in the last few months.
Who is Australia’s best motivational speaker?
Well, that depends on a lot of different factors. But here, at least, are 20 of the busiest, and in my opinion best, motivational or inspirational conference speakers in Australia in 2020.
- This list is NOT in any particular order.
Gill Hicks AM MBE FRSA
OK, when I just said this list isn’t in any particular order, that is true, except for Gillian Hicks.
I can honestly and confidently say that no other speaker I have ever seen speaking live at a conference has moved me and inspired me and impressed me, as much as Gill does.
Her staging, and her overall presence, is so engaging, that even if she didn’t have an amazing story, she would still be an amazing speaker.
But, she DOES have an incredible story. From being caught up in a terrorist incident in London in 2007, in which she was permanently injured, to founding the London-based non-profit, M. A. D. for Peace, Gill is a survivor, an ambassador for peace and kindness, and just a quality human being.
Here is Gill’s TED talk.
I can highly recommend her for your conference, she is awesome.
JoAnna Ferrari, or JJ as she likes to be known, is ‘The Transition Specialist’. She talks a lot about fear and confidence when it comes to change and transition, and she is disarmingly frank and real.
She talks about how her life was pretty much perfect, from the outside at least. She had the professional and personal life we all dream of, but then, in her words, the dream ended and the nightmare began, when she openly told the world about starting her gender transition.
Cam lives an adventurous life, and inspires other people to do the same.
He speaks mostly about conquering fear, discovering your purpose, embracing risk, and ‘cultivating communities that burn bright’.
He is one of the most likeable and ‘listenable’ speakers I have seen, and he regularly receives great reviews.
Turia is instantly recognisable as someone who has not only been through some hard times, but is a beacon of resilience and hope, and that determination and confidence can beat almost anything.
In 2011, when she was 24 years old, her life was turned upside down when, while she was competing in a 100km ultra marathon in the Australian desert, she was trapped in an out of control grass fire, and suffered burns to 65% of her body.
In her words: “I was choppered out of the remote desert barely alive and wasn’t expected to survive. I lost seven of my fingers, spent over six months in hospital, underwent over 200 operations and spent two years in recovery.
Against overwhelming odds, I defied every expectation placed on me and rebuilt my life.”
Turia is a powerhouse, in life, and on the stage. I can highly recommend her.
Adam is an MC and a keynote and after-dinner speaker, and just happens to also be an Oscar winner.
Adam won his Academy Award as the Animator of Harvie Krumpet, but Adam is also one of Australia’s funniest, unique, refreshing speakers in Australia. A classic underdog tale, he has told his witty and inspiring life story to over 500 groups here and abroad.
Always bringing his Oscar with him and accompanied by a dazzling slide presentation, he gives a blow by blow account of his Oscar experience in Hollywood and how he took on the giants at Disney, Pixar and Fox to win his Academy Award.
Another from the Leading Voice Speaker Management stable is Yvonne Adele.
In a former life, Yvonne was ‘Ms Megabyte’ where she regularly appeared on television and in the media, and wrote a best-selling book that taught everyday Australians to love technology as much as she does.
Yvonne speaks about productivity and tech (obviously), but also talks about disruption and innovation, and is one of Australia’s best conference MC’s as well.
She is charming and in charge on stage, and leaves a lasting impression on audiences, regardless of the size – or the theme – of the conference.
For someone raised in a small country NSW town, Kurt has a pretty impressive resume.
He has won three gold medals at the Olympic Games, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, and over 30 marathons including New Yotk, Chicago, and London. He has also crawled the Kokoda Track, sailed in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, and was New South Wales Australian of the Year in 2019.
Now, Kurt is an inspirational motivational conference speaker, and speaks about resilience, finding your strength, and leadership.
Robyn is arguably Australia’s most sought-after and most-booked professional conference speakers.
She is also famous for some of her voice-acting work, most notably on ‘How Green Was My Cactus’ and being the voice of Blinky Bill.
She is captivating on stage where she literally ‘sells people back to themselves’ so they recognise old habits and take responsibility for making new choices.
Michael has the most incredible story, and delivers it really well, time and time again. He was diagnosed with what he and his family were told was an incurable cancer as a child, he is the sole survivor of an horrific cancer drug trial, but has emerged as an adult having represented Australia in sport, and as an accomplished speaker and leader.
“Raw, real and truly life changing, Michael’s story will undoubtedly bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your heart, as he teaches the keys to success, the importance of embracing change and the mindset needed to achieve your goals.”
Amanda is also one of the busiest and most in-demand speakers from Australia, and she works on stages in the USA a lot also.
Her main theme is joy, and what can be achieved when we harness the power of joy and happiness instead of rejecting it for ‘feeling silly’.
“Amanda’s action-packed, but scientifically based performances, offer an abundance of use-it-now tools to handle change and create deep, lasting relationships at every level – with customers, colleagues and family – leaving everyone feeling good about themselves, energised, enthusiastic and re-engaged!”
Cameron was appointed CEO of the famous Richmond Football Club at age 24, the youngest in the history of the game. He then spent the next 25 years as the CEO of three AFL clubs, the second longest serving CEO in the modern game.
Cameron has channeled his deep experience in leadership in professional sport and business, mentoring CEOs, senior and emerging leaders and their organisations across many industry sectors, those seeking to build high levels of cultural, strategic and leadership trust as the basis for sustained high-performance.
Cameron is also an artist, and there is a compelling creativity and originality in his storytelling and speaking. He explores the deep personal and professional challenges he faced as a leader, his openness, vulnerability and generosity creating a powerful connection with his audience, who will be reaching for their notebooks to record the insights and wisdom from a fully-lived leadership experience.
Rosie Batty AO
Rosie is a family violence campaigner and was the Australian of the Year in 2015. Her story is a tragic one, but on stage she presents it in such an inspiring, forgiving, and hopeful way that audiences can’t help but be engaged.
Her main themes are around resilience, courage, inspiration and making a difference.
Her incredible strength and her tireless efforts to make that serious difference in society make her a pretty inspirational addition to any conference.
In 2013, armed with a video camera, Nigel set off on an initiative to travel throughout Australia, solo on his motorbike, to discover ingenious Australians and share their stories. Through ‘Ingenious Oz Project’, his quest was to inspire the ideas of a Nation and as an ambassador of Start-up Australia, he has interviewed hundreds of Australia’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders. These initiatives and the unique research they offered led Nigel to establish ‘Game of Inches Co’. An organisation committed to helping businesses grow through a tested and pragmatic process of small changes leading to big results.
Now, Nigel speaks in front of business leaders and social leaders, and talks about how that same ‘game of inches’ can be applied to our every day lives as well. I have had the great pleasure of working closely with Nigel and speaking at several of the same conferences as him, and I can highly recommend him.
Imagine living in 24 hours of darkness for months at a time… Imagine the temperature hovering around minus 35 degrees You can’t get in or out… You didn’t even get to pick the people you live with… And… you’re stuck there for a year! Antarctica in Winter is totally inaccessible – which means once the last ship leaves in February no one can get in or out of the place, ever, until the ship returns in November. That’s what Rachael Robertson did, and what she speaks about today at events and conferences globally. She lead an expedition to Antarctica and was responsible for the welfare and safety of the 18 members of her team for an entire year. Her stories of leadership are pretty amazing to listen to.
Tom O’Toole OAM
Author, inspirational speaker, business leader and founder of the famous Beechworth Bakery, Tom changes lives. The thousands of people whose lives he has impacted typically say he is “real, captivating, unforgettable and transformational”.
Tom is best known for his incredible entrepreneurial story on how he created Australia’s most successful standalone retail bakery business. Employing over 280 staff with a turnover in excess of $17 million and serving over 1 million customers per year, the bakeries – now 9 in total across regional Victoria – are testament to Tom’s savvy entrepreneurship, drive and innovative business practices.
In 2018 Tom was proudly awarded an OAM in the Queens Birthday Honours List for his services to the baking industry and the Beechworth community.
On stage, I can tell you that Tom is a whirlwind powerhouse. His energy and fun and engagement is hard to compare anyone else to. He is not easily forgotten.
No stranger to the extreme highs and lows of sport, business and life, Olympic Gold Medalist Alisa Camplin enjoys a unique mix of keynote speaking, consulting, ambassadorial, philanthropic and governance roles.
Her stage presentations mostly centre around her Olympic journey, but the incredible preparation, mindset issues, recovery from setbacks (and injuries!), and the key to success that can translate into everyone’s life.
“With greater courage and character than you’d ever imagine, be prepared to laugh and cry as you hear the real story behind Alisa Camplin’s unbelievable journey in sport, business and life.”
Darren is widely recognised as a true hero, following his efforts to rescue two trapped miners in Beaconsfield in Tasmania in 2006, an event that received international attention.
Despite that notoriety, Darren remains humble and exudes an aura of kindness and gratitude.
“Recently presented with a National Bravery Awards medal, Darren is candid about the impact of the Beaconsfield mine disaster on his life. Darren, as well as the others involved were significantly and eternally affected by their role in the rescue mission. In his presentations, Darren now speaks about the very real issues of mental health that can follow such a traumatic ordeal. By addressing these issues, he hopes to spark a broader conversation, encouraging those who’ve suffered to reach out to others. In particular, Darren emphasises the importance of genuine and open camaraderie between men, intimating that the typical “tough guy” approach can be isolating.”
Natalie Cook AOM OLY
Nat Cook is one of Australia’s most recognised sportspeople and Olympians. She famously won the Gold Medal with her beach volleyball partner, Kerri Pottharst at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, after winning the Bronze Medal four years earlier in Atlanta.
Nat is now an accomplished and sought-after keynote speaker and MC for events and conferences, and her speaking topics range from leadership, courage, resilience, sustainable success, team building and health and wellbeing.
Todd is possibly my favourite speaker on this list to actually sit in the audience of when he speaks and just be entertained. I am lucky to have spoken at a couple of the same events as Todd, and I can tell you that sitting in the audience, you get a good perspective of the level of ‘brain bending’ he is able to achieve on stage.
Apart from being an amazing keynote speaker, Todd is also an award-winning documentary-maker, television presenter, businessman, and someone who sits on the board of both Fairfax and Qantas. Oh, and he has also climbed Everest.
Todd is one of the best speakers you will ever see, and I highly recommend him.
So that’s my list. Currently, at least.
Bookmark this page because I will keep adding to it as I see other motivational or inspirational speakers on stage who might be a good fit for you to check out for your conference as well.
And whether it’s me, or any of the speakers on the list that you include in your next conference, I hope it goes well for you and that the speaking talent complements your audience’s inspiration and motivation as they leave.
And lastly, don’t forget to check out my post, The ultimate guide for how to find a motivational speaker for your conference for my tips and tricks when it comes to finding the best inspirational and motivational speaker for your next conference.`
My Speaking Showreel.