The Best Public Speakers – According To The Internet

If you ask most people who the best public speakers are, you will probably receive predictable responses such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates. While these speakers are indeed exceptional communicators, they are not necessarily the best speakers in the world, and even if you think they are the absolute best speakers, there is no denying that they have some tough competition for that title.

Who is their competition for the title of best speaker?

The list below includes speakers who deserve to be at the top of the list of the best speakers. Are any of these speakers the best speaker in the world? Well, that question is definitely subjective – so you be the judge.  

Some of these speakers are well known, while others are relatively unknown to the general public. These speakers are included in this list of The Best Public Speakers because their names appeared in multiple blog posts, forums, and articles in which the best public speakers were being discussed. It seems the internet public thinks these speakers are among the best in the world.

Without a doubt there are many other names that deserve to be on this list, however this list is not meant to be comprehensive, or even scientific report. The information below is simply meant to inspire you as you prepare for your upcoming presentations. 

1. Guy Kawasaki

About Guy Kawasaki: Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was also the chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Learn more about Guy Kawasaki here.

Watch Kawasaki’s SXSWedu presentation, If I Knew Then What I Know Now:

Watch Kawasaki’s presentation, Top 10 list for success in innovation, at the TIA 2014 VIP Dinner:

2. Rachel Botsman

About Rachel Botsman: Rachel Botsman is an author and the global authority on the power of collaboration and sharing to change the way we live, work, bank and consume. She is known for originating the theory of ‘collaborative consumption’ with her acclaimed book,What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (Harper Collins, 2010). The concept was subsequently named by TIME as one of the ‘10 Ideas that Will Change the World’ in 2011 and the book was shortlisted for the 800-CEO-Read Business Book of the Year in 2010. Her TED talks on the topic have been viewed more than two million times.  In 2015, she designed the world’s first M.B.A. course on the collaborative economy, which she teaches at Oxford University’s Saïd School of Business.

Learn more about Rachel Botsman here.

Watch Botsman’s TED talk, The currency of the new economy is trust:

Watch Botsman’s TED talk, The case for collaborative consumption:

3. Richard Branson

About Richard Branson: Richard Branson bootstrapped his way from record-shop owner to head of the Virgin empire. He’s ballooned across the Atlantic, floated down the Thames with the Sex Pistols, and been knighted by the Queen. His megabrand, Virgin, is home to more than 250 companies, from gyms, gambling houses and bridal boutiques to fleets of planes, trains and limousines. And now Richard Branson is moving onward and upward into space (tourism): Virgin Galactic’s Philippe Starck-designed, The first Burt Rutan-engineered spacecraft, The Enterprise, completed its first captive carry in early 2010 and is slated to start carrying passengers into the thermosphere in 2012, at $200,000 a ticket. Branson also has a philanthropic streak. He’s pledged the next 10 years of profits from his transportation empire (an amount expected to reach $3 billion) to the development of renewable alternatives to carbon fuels. And then there’s his Virgin Earth Challenge, which offers a $25 million prize to the first person to come up with an economically viable solution to the greenhouse gas problem.

Learn more about Richard Branson here.

Watch the Business Insider video, Richard Branson Hates Public Speaking — Here’s How He Gets Over It:

4. Jane McGonigal

About Jane McGonigal: Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems. She believes game designers are on a humanitarian mission — and her #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press, 2011) — and is the inventor and co-founder of SuperBetter, a game that has helped nearly half a million players tackle real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury.

Learn more about Jane McGonigal here.

Watch McGonigal‘s TED talk, The game that can give you 10 extra years of life:

Watch McGonigal‘s TED talk, Massively multi-player… thumb-wrestling?

5. Seth Godin

About Seth Godin: Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow. In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. He was recently inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor in 2013.

Learn more about Seth Godin here.

Watch Godin‘s TED talk, How to get your ideas to spread:

Watch Godin‘s TED talk, The tribes we lead:

6. Arianna Huffington

About Arianna Huffington: Arianna Huffington is the co-founder, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and author of fifteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including The Center for Public Integrity and The Committee to Protect Journalists.

Learn more about Arianna Huffington here.

Watch Huffington’s TED talk, How to succeed? Get more sleep:

Watch Huffington’s keynote speech at INBOUND 2013:

7. Marianne Williamson

About Marianne Williamson: Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Six of her eleven published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best seller A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Learn more about Marianne Williamson here.

Watch a portion of Williamson’s talk, How to Plug Into the Universe, from Super Soul Sessions: 

8. Mohammed Qahtani

About Mohammed Qahtani: On August 15, Saudi Arabian security engineer Mohammed Qahtani won the title of Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking. He survived seven rounds of a competition that lasted six months and included 33,000 competitors from around the world.

Learn more about Mohammed Qahtani here.

Watch Qahtani‘s winning speech:

9. Wendy Clark

About Wendy Clark: As President, Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, Wendy Clark leads the Sparkling Category Business Unit as well as the Integrated Marketing organization, including Portfolio Strategy and Innovation, Connections, Investments and Assets, Content and Design for the United States and Canada. Previously, Wendy held the role of Senior Vice President, Global Sparkling Brand Center, where she was responsible for the global leadership of our Sparkling brands and businesses, led by trademark Coca-Cola.

Learn more about Wendy Clark here.

Watch Clark‘s presentation at thinkDoubleClick 2013:

Watch Clark’s presentationLeveraging Digital Video Content and Experiment at IAB MIXX 2015:

10. Tony Robbins

About Tony Robbins: Tony Robbins might have one of the world’s most famous smiles; his beaming confidence has helped sell his best-selling line of self-help books, and fill even his 10,000-seat seminars. What’s less known about the iconic motivational speaker is the range and stature of his personal clients. From CEOs to heads of state to Olympic athletes, a wide swath of high-performing professionals (who are already plenty motivated, thank you very much) look to him for help reaching their full potential. Robbins’ expertise in leadership psychology is what brought him to TED, where his spontaneous on-stage interaction with Al Gore created an unforgettable TED moment. It also perfectly demonstrated Robbins’ direct — even confrontational — approach, which calls on his listeners to look within themselves, and find the inner blocks that prevent them from finding fulfillment and success. Some of his techniques — firewalking, for example — are magnets for criticism, but his underlying message is unassailable: We all have the ability to make a positive impact on the world, and it’s up to us, as individuals, to overcome our fears and foibles to reach that potential.

Learn more about Tony Robbins here.

Watch Robbins’ TED talk, Why We Do What We Do:


Who are your favorite public speakers? We’d love to know which speakers inspire you! Tweet us at @Ethos3.

Additional Resources:

Develop This One Trait To Become A Better Public Speaker

The Advice I Give To All TEDxNashville Speakers

The TED staff answers: What Makes A Great TED Talk?

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One response to “The Best Public Speakers – According To The Internet”

  1. […] If you ask most people who the best public speakers are, you will probably receive predictable responses such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates. While these speakers are indeed exceptional communicators, they are not necessarily the best speakers in the world, and even if you think they are the absolute best speakers, there is no denying that they have some tough competition for that title.  […]

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