Who would you say has been the most charismatic speaker you've ever heard? I know, we've all got a list of people we just like listening to. Why? Well, the reasons are different for everyone. But today, I wanted to share which people, at least from the last 20ish years, have made it to my list. Do you agree? Have I missed anyone? Please do let me know.
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, is known for his eloquence, charm, and ability to inspire hope and change. Chances are you can still hear the words "yes, we can' that became his catchphrase throughout his two terms in office. His speeches on civil rights, healthcare, and climate change have moved millions of people and earned him a reputation as one of the most incredible speakers of our time.
TV host, actor and writer Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul, philanthropist, and motivational speaker. Her ability to connect with audiences and inspire them to overcome adversity has made her one of the world's most beloved and influential figures. It's also worth mentioning that whilst we might not always agree with a speaker's point of view, topic or interview, it doesn't make them any less charismatic. For example, for me, her recent interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wasn't her finest hour. Though, as a speaker and personality, I still love Oprah.
The author of the bestselling book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek, is a leadership expert and motivational speaker who has gained a massive following for his TED talks and said book(s). His focus on the importance of purpose, values, and culture in organizations has helped inspire a new generation of leaders.
Malala Yousafzai is, for me, a walking, taking inspiration. In 2012, Taliban gunmen tried to kill then-15-year-old Malala in response to her advocacy for education for girls in Pakistan, where she lived. Today, still wearing the scars of those injuries, she is known as an activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history. Her speeches on the importance of education and women's rights have inspired millions worldwide to fight for equality and justice.
At the time of writing, Brené Brown's 2010 TEDx Talk in Houston, The Power of Vulnerability, has been viewed an incredible 61,063,585 times. As an introverted research professor specialising in vulnerability, courage, and shame, seeing her speak on stage in front of hundreds of people is mesmerising. Her TED talks, books and online programmes have helped millions overcome their fears and live more authentic and wholehearted lives (as Brené refers to her work). Brené is an inspiration.
Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal (where he amassed his early wealth), and more recently, his acquisition of Twitter, Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur and CEO. His visionary ideas and charismatic personality have helped make him one of the most influential figures in the tech industry. His core values are freedom of speech (hence the acquisition of Twitter), saving the planet (Tesla), and developing the ability to be able to survive and thrive on another planet (Mars), if we ever needed to (SpaceX). As a personality and speaker, is Elon Musk always easy to listen to? Of course not...but he is always faithful to his vision and relentless in his drive to achieve it.
Famously, the girl 'from the South Side' (of Chicago, meaning the poorer, working-class area), Michelle Obama, grew up to become a lawyer, author, and former First Lady of the United States. Her education, health, and equality speeches have inspired millions worldwide to work towards a better future. Without getting into politics, I also believe she would be an incredible President if ever she were driven, or crazy enough, to want to do it, which she's said on many occasions, she isn't.
Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker and life coach who has helped millions of people improve their lives through his books, seminars, and speeches. Love or loathe him, Tony Robbins has been delivering events to tens of millions worldwide for nearly 40 years, including on several occasions, to me, too.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author and feminist activist. Her speeches on gender, race, and culture have helped raise awareness and inspire change worldwide.
Adichie is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights in Africa. In 2014, when Nigeria passed an anti-homosexuality bill, Adichie and other Nigerian writers spoke out against the law, deeming it unconstitutional and a misplaced priority. Adichie argued that crimes have victims, and since consensual homosexual conduct between adults doesn't harm anyone, it shouldn't be considered a crime. Therefore, the law was unjust.
This last name may surprise you. Sir Lindsay Harvey Hoyle is a prominent British politician who has been Speaker of the House of Commons since 2019. Before he was Speaker, Sir Lindsay was the Labour Member of Parliament for Chorley in the UK. What I like most about Sir Lindsay is that he seems a decent and honest man. He respects people and is a proud Yorkshireman with a beautiful, broad Yorkshire accent. In a nutshell, Sir Lindsay seems like one of the good guys.
So, that's my list of some of the most charismatic speakers of the 21st century. Did I miss anyone? Do you disagree with any of my choices? Please let me know, leave a comment, get in touch, or even say it to my face the next time you hear me speak!
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