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Top Event Speakers of 2018

The stage could be covered in Swarovski crystals, the food and beverage straight from Mount Olympus, and the mobile app more addictive than Angry Birds. But if the event’s speakers aren’t engaging and inspiring, attendees will inevitably feel let down and find the experience lacking of value.

Speakers represent one of the most important channels for content delivery at events. They provide the anecdotes, emotional depth and life experience necessary to flesh out a message. And audiences love them – there’s a reason TED Talks receive millions of views. Because of this, it’s crucial to select speakers that best align with an event’s story while also resonating with attendees.

A goal of an internal event may be to motivate employees and reaffirm their sense of importance to the company – this crowd benefits from educational or motivational speakers who encourage them to maximize their current roles. However, a user conference may have an entrepreneurial audience keen to hear from other creators and upstarters.  For every event type, there are several engaging corresponding speakers. Below are examples of some of the top options for 2018.

The Creators

The ones who make magic out of nothing. These are people whose ideas know no bounds, with inventions that have changed the course of humanity. A creator of note:


Peter Diamandis

Diamandis is a top innovation keynote speaker, futurist, Co-Founder of Celularity and the Chairman/CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation. Celularity is the only organization in the nation performing cutting-edge stem cell research focused on improving human immunity, longevity, and regeneration. His speaking topics include: Exponential Tech: Innovation & Disruption on the Road Ahead, Transforming Scarcity to Abundance, Bold Thinking for an Exponential Organization

The Upstarters

Start-ups are the modern-day Cinderella story. Entrepreneurs venture into niche markets to build something brand new. While many of these undertakings fail, the ones that succeed become influential powerhouses in the marketplace. An entrepreneur with an impressive story to share:

Gary Vaynerchuk

With the advent of e-commerce, Gary launched, growing the site from $3 million to $45 million in short order. His keynote focuses include: Three Pillars of Entrepreneurship: Self Awareness, Hustle and Empathy, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy World.

The Inspirers

The ones whose stories prompt others to take action. The ripple-effect from these individuals has caused change from within their communities to all around the world. For an extra dose of inspiration, look to:

“The Silence Breakers”

Named as Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” these are the women and men that spoke out about sexual assault and demanded a reckoning for unsavory behaviors occurring in workplaces and homes. Their silence-breaking prompted the #MeToo movement, a message of solidarity that allowed millions to also share their stories and ask for change.

Speakers from the #MeToo movement include: Tarana Burke, who coined the phrase “me too” in 2006 and relays a powerful message of unity, empathy, and outreach; Ashley Judd, who shares her experience and speaks about the power one voice has to impact the lives of others; and Alyssa Milano, the actress, humanitarian and entrepreneur responsible for causing the hashtag to go viral overnight in 2017.

The Overcomers

The ones who achieve even when it seems all odds are against them. These ascenders of the insurmountable serve as a reminder of the realm of possibility for humanity. An inspiring overcomer to consider:  

Mick Ebeling

Ebeling founded Not Impossible, a multiple award-winning social innovation lab and production company, on the premise that nothing is impossible. He convenes disparate teams of hackers, doers, makers and thinkers to create devices that better the world by bringing accessibility for all. Projects have included restoring the ability to draw to a paraplegic street artist and 3D-printed arms to Sudanese amputees. He speaks on topics such as radical collaboration, teaching innovation and the fallacy of “impossible.”

The Educators

Some of the best educators are the lifelong learners. These are the people that continually push to know more and are eager to share their knowledge. One notable educator:

Angela Duckworth

What’s the difference between adequate performance and brilliant performance? Star psychology professor and best-selling author Dr. Angela Duckworth argues that grit—a blend of diligence, commitment, and perseverance—is present in every top performer, from successful executives to ace academics. Her keynote focus is True Grit: The Surprising, Inspiring, Science of Success.

The Motivators

Sometimes when the going gets tough, a word of encouragement can be just the nudge needed to keep going. Especially when the encouragement come from people who have pushed themselves to accomplish the incredible. Some speakers who can provide that extra nudge:

Alison Levine

Levin is the author of On the Edge and executive producer of documentary, The Glass Ceiling. This mountain climber, professor, speaker and leadership consultant has ascended the highest peaks on every continent and also skied to both the North and South Poles. In 2010, she reached the summit of Mt. Everest. She inspires and motivates audiences with her tales of daring adventure. Her keynote touches on how leadership lessons from extreme environments can guide peak performance in fast-changing and challenging business settings.

Tony Dungy

Tony is not your typical football coach. The former head coach of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts refrains from the harsh language and aggressive manner so often associated with his sport. His main topics revolve around leading successful teams, motivation for success and motivating the spirit. Dungy is a leader who demonstrates how faith, strength and solidarity can sustain and inspire any team.

Want to learn more? Discover how agencyEA can elevate your next B2B event.