6 Types Of Public Speakers (And How To Find The Perfect Speaker For Your Event)

6 Types Of Public Speakers (And How To Find The Perfect Speaker For Your Event)

So, you’re planning a big event and you need a speaker. 

Personal or professional, free or paid, finding the right speaker is the difference between a memorable event and a forgettable one. 

What types of speakers are out there? How do you find them?

Before we answer those questions, you need to ask yourself:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. What is my goal for this event?

Once you’ve answered them you can proceed to:

“What do I want from my speaker?”

Do you want to inspire them?

Educate them?

Give them a chuckle and entertain them?

Maybe you want all 3? (Unicorns are rare but they do exist.)

MENA Speakers and I have been helping organizations book speakers for their events for several years now.

When our clients want the best man or woman for their needs, they come to us. (For a sample of who we have to offer, read until the end.)

In my experience, there are 6 types of speakers:

  1. The Transformational Speaker
  2. The Motivational Speaker
  3. The Educational Speaker
  4. The Activist Speaker
  5. The Wannabe Speaker
  6. The “Hidden Agenda” Speaker

They broadly fall under “paid” and “free.”

In this article, I’ll describe the 6 types and how they can help you achieve your event goals.

Paid Speakers

Self-explanatory. You pay them and they show up. Paid speakers vary in their experience (and speaking fees.)

They could range from $1,000 per engagement to $100,000. At the higher range, it’s more about “celebrity” than it is about skill or quality.

1. The Transformational Speaker

Transformation: relating to or involving a marked change in form, nature or appearance.

Transformational speakers try to make big changes in their audience.

They use all the dimensions of their experience:

  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Body language
  • Movement
  • Presence
  • Voice
  • Words

All of this to invite the audience into their own world, exposing subtle and profound aspects of existence.

“The Wake-Up Guy” Aaron McNaught, is the author of five books, a Life Coach and Transformational Speaker who practically owns the term. 

(Google “Transformational Speaker” in quotes and see for yourself.)

Aaron is known for his demonstration of “awakeness” and has committed his life to bringing light into the world.

Transformational Speakers are at home in the depths of Life, always swimming in the profound realization that “I Am Alive AS Life.” 

It is from here that they welcome their audience back into the truest expression of who, and what, they are.

As if saying, “welcome home.”

2. The Inspirational Or Motivational Speaker

Inspiration: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.

Motivate: provide (someone) with a reason for doing something.

A motivational speaker’s talks are generally centred around a specific theme such as team building, personal strength, or activism.

Their purpose is to motivate others toward various goals. 

These speakers can easily express the value of their goal, while inspiring your audience to act.

Their speeches inspire others to think big, innovate, take risks, experiment, and fulfil their dreams.

There are 3 types of Speakers under this category:

  • Personal Development: These speakers might give talks on a specific topic such as how to balance family and work. In some cases, they might tell personal stories of adversity and triumph to give hope to the audience. 
  • Business: Business speakers usually have expertise and experience in the field of business and many of them share their means of attaining success.
  • Sports achievers: through their achievements and personal stories they inspire others to challenge themselves and defy limiting beliefs around their own capacity.

3. Instructive Or Educational Speakers

Educate: give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone) / give (someone) training in or information on a particular subject.

Knowledge is power. Individually, yes, and even more so when shared with others.

In this category, we find experts in their respective fields. Professors, journalists, scientists, professionals, etc. 

An Educational Speaker teaches some topic within their area of expertise. The audience experience isn’t a core focus for them, it is more about conveying their knowledge.

These speakers thrive in seminar and workshop settings, especially when given enough time and space in which to go into detail.

Unpaid Speakers

Unpaid speakers need to be motivated for their appearance and time investment.

Sometimes it’s about being a really great sport and showing up for the conference organizer or the audience members. 

They will do their very best because they are passionate about the event, their expertise, or just because it’s their ethos.

However, you do have the “usual suspects” of unpaid speakers who are unprofessional (and thus, may not be the right fit for your event.)

Then tend to fall into the categories I’ve described below. 

4. The Activist Speaker

Activist Speakers make it their full-time job to spread their ideas. Think about priests, politicians, activists, and so on.

They are at your event just for two things:

  • Spread their ideals
  • Recruit members

They are not driven by money, but by their morals and values. This can be a good thing but it can also be bad (depending on your goals for the event.)

5. The Wannabe Speaker

These are speakers who need attention for various reasons.

Either they are rookies aspiring to be professional speakers OR they need a stage, fame, to check speaking off their bucket list, or just to prove themselves. 

Their desire to be on stage and in front of an audience is self-serving. Their speech is driven by ego and narcissism.

We’ve all suffered through speeches like this and would rather not go through the experience again.

But in this day of social media influencers we are seeing a resurgence of the wannabe speaker. 

They’re like candy. Might taste good but there’s no real nutrition in them. 

A good proxy of this type of speaker is when you ask them to speak and they answer a very quick yes with no curiosity about their fit, the audience and goals of the speech. 

6. The “Hidden Agenda” Speaker 

The “hidden agenda” speaker is at your event for business. 

They could be a salesperson trying to sell their company’s products. Or they could be marketing themselves using the platform. 

You mostly find them at industry conferences. And the conference organizers are OK with it.

This speaker’s objective is to sell, not to inspire or educate. 

It is often the case that their entire speech and presentation are a thinly disguised sales pitch.

This can have a negative impact on the reputation of your event because audience members come in order to learn something or benefit in some way, not be sold to.

Guess what happens next year? They don’t come back and worse, they may tell others not to come to your event.


Public speakers exist on a kind of pyramid spectrum:

  1. Transformational (Apex)
  2. Motivational
  3. Educational
  4. Activist
  5. Wannabe
  6. Hidden Agency (Base)

The type of speaker you choose for your event depends on:

  • Your audience
  • Your objectives
  • Your budget

If you have an event coming up…

MENA Speakers Can Help You Find The Perfect Speaker

Emirati Women’s Day is coming up on the 28th of August 2019.

We’ve got an exquisite selection of successful Emirati women speakers to choose from.

Oh, and they’re all transformational and inspirational. 😉

Speakers like:

mena speakers her excellency doctor sara al madani

Her Excellency Dr. Sara Al Madani

A well-known fashion designer, Restaurant Owner and entrepreneur. In 2014, she was selected by His Highness Sheikh D.r Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi as a board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, making her the youngest on the board.

mena speakers aida al busaidy

Aida Al Busaidy

For over 11 years, Aida has worked across the Communications field. In addition to the professional corporate world, she ventured into the TV presenting and column writing to expand her horizon in the media and communications world.

mena speakers nayla al khaja

Nayla Al Khaja

Nayla Al Khaja is the first female Film Producer and Film Director in the United Arab Emirates. A successful business woman, she is the CEO of her own production company, Nayla Al Khaja Films (previously D-Seven Motion Pictures), and she founded in 2007 The Scene Club, Dubai’s first independent film club, which now counts over 22,000 registered members.

mena speakers amna al haddad

Amna Al Haddad

Amna Al Haddad is a sports pioneer from the Gulf, motivational speaker, mental health advocate and writer. She is known for breaking the glass ceiling as an Olympic weightlifting athlete from the UAE. She is also a TEDx speaker.

mena speakers mona kazim

Mona Kazim

An Engineer, author, professional speaker, certified trainer and a life coach. A graduate of the first batch of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Leadership Development Program 2005. Also a Nominee for a membership in the Federal National Council for the year 2006.

mena speakers maryam amiri

Maryam Amiri

Maryam Amiri is a Master of Ceremony and Moderator specializing in large-scale live events such as international conferences, awards ceremonies and global launches. Fluent in both English and Arabic, Maryam is recognized as the go to MC for internationally recognized headline events such as the Summit on the Global Agenda, ADIPEC and Worldskills Abu Dhabi, where she hosted 10,000 people on live television.

mena speakers hanan al sammak

Hanan Al Sammak

An author, professional speaker and educator with a social media following of over 150 thousand individuals worldwide. After being awarded by His Highness Sheikh Faisal Al Qassimi as one of the most influential personalities and the the voice of community during The Women Empowerment Initiative in 2015 and being featured in leading print and digital media channels, the former Marketing Executive decided to radically change her lifestyle and career into a full time entrepreneur.

If you’d like to book any one of these lovely ladies for your event, feel free to private message me OR email saana@mena-speakers.com

No Comments
Leave a Comment: