Politics and Business

A voice like silk: the 10 best speakers in the world today

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Public speaking is an art and a science. In fact, oratory studies have a long history dating back 2500 years. Ancient Athenians dedicated their lives to studying the rhetoric and speaking styles that can keep a crowd hanging. Many of their insights are still used today.

A lot has changed over the millennia, though. Today entertainment bureaus such as  Speakers Corner have made it easier than ever for businesses to book oratory experts, since they have polished the art in its many forms.

So, which voices are pushing the boundaries of speech even further in 2019?

  • Bear Grylls

As one of the best-known faces in survival entertainment, the Bear Grylls name is enough to wow a crowd on its own. With a personal brand crafted from extreme survival know-how and can-do positivity, Grylls was born to survive.

This mentality feeds through a voice just as impressive as his stories. It’s contagious, too, since his motivational skills are second-to-none.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sometimes, distinctive voices are the best. No crowd could fail to recognise the notable twang of Austrian-American actor, politician, businessman, philanthropist and former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. His high profile and the breadth of his work makes him a modern icon in the world of public speech.

  • Debra Searle

Adventurer, TV presenter and solo Atlantic rower Debra Searle is a female public speaking pioneer. In 2002 she entered a 3000-mile rowing race from Tenerife to Barbados and was forced to continue alone after her husband’s rescue. Debra channels this fighting spirit into every one of her speeches.

  • Tony Robbins

American life coach Tony Robbins takes an emotional approach with the art of oratory. In 2016 he revealed his three top secrets, which included getting deep inside the mind of the audience.

  • Diana Nyad

Famed for an inspirational 2013 Ted Talk titled ‘Never, ever give up’, Diana Nyad is a record-setting swimmer who completed a gruelling 100-mile swim aged 64. She thinks a lot about the secrets of motivation and has an enigmatic, playful stage style to bring her thoughts to life.

  • Hyeonseo Lee

As far as motivational stories go, surely few compare to escaping from North Korea. Hyeonseo Lee has an incredible tale filled with geopolitical insights. Her low self-assured voice tells emotional tales that can keep any audience on the edge of their seats.

  • Barack Obama

Since his departure from politics, Barack Obama has continued to practice his primary skill – drawing crowds and stirring passion with nothing but words. The 44th President of the United States is one of the most exclusive public speakers in the world, specialising in challenge, change, leadership and diplomacy.

  • Nick Vukicic

Australian speaker Nick Vukicic was born without arms or legs, but has nonetheless embraced a life without limits. He is also a Christian evangelist, making his brand of inspiration popular with religious communities.

  • Steve Backshall

Known as a wildlife presenter and the face of 2014’s Strictly Come Dancing competition, Steve Backshall knows a lot about travel, conservation and on-screen charisma. He has become the family-friendly face of after dinner speaking in the UK, with a passionate stage presence and recognisable smile.

  • Annie Machon

Half of the formula for successful speaking is the ability to tell great stories – and Annie Machon’s tales of MI5, spies and secret government workings are certainly more gripping than most. The famous whistleblower is now a writer, media pundit and campaigner with unique insights on topical subjects from international terrorism to the War On Drugs.


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