20 Best Virtual Keynote Speakers for Online Events in 2021

Home » Resources » Virtual Keynote SpeakersUpdated: October 06, 2021

You found our list of top virtual keynote speakers.

Virtual keynote speakers are lecturers and motivational gurus who deliver keynote addresses during virtual events. For example, famous authors, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. The purpose of these guest speakers is to entertain and educate attendees and to drive attendance and participation at remote gatherings.

These figures speak at online events such as digital conferences, remote retreats, and all hands meetings.

This list includes:

  • motivational virtual keynote speakers
  • virtual conference keynote speakers
  • virtual event speakers
  • virtual speaker booking websites

Here we go!

List of virtual keynote speakers

Here is a list of keynote speakers for virtual events to fit all budgets.

1. Charles J Ogletree

Speaks about: Black heritage, law, politics, race

Charles Ogletree is a Harvard Law School professor who taught Barack and Michelle Obama during their college days. He is the author of dozens of prominent books and articles on legality and race, with many media appearances under his belt.

While in college, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see Charles Ogletree give a talk at my campus. His speaking style blew me away. He gave a riveting lecture that was both full of information and highly entertaining. Even though the auditorium consisted mostly of 18 to 22 year olds, he treated the audience with respect and spoke to us the way he would speak to any other crowd. However, the most striking part of the presentation was the way Ogletree spoke about racial justice with equal parts passion and composure.

This speaker’s area of expertise is especially relevant to the current climate, as organizations focus more attention on diversity and equity. Olgetree challenges his audience without alienating them, and provides valuable insight on ways to build more inclusive societies and communities.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: Contact for virtual pricing, however in-person pricing runs between $20,000-$30,000

Book Charles Ogletree.

2. Simon Sinek

Speaks about: Meaningful work, motivation, leadership

Simon Sinek is one of the most in-demand motivational virtual keynote speakers. His “Start With Why” speech is one of the most-viewed TED talks of all time. This lecture helped to cement Sinek as one of the top thought leaders within the organizational motivation sphere. In the years since the video went viral, Sinek has published several bestselling books, given hundreds of talks, and taught for years at Columbia university. Common topics include leadership, success, inspiration, meaningful work, team trust, generational differences, and personal motivation. This speaker’s specialty is identifying common problems within organizational operations and suggesting more productive alternatives. His mission is to help individuals and organizations discover and better execute their personal missions. Sinek has an empathetic, optimistic, empowering speaking style that naturally fires up crowds, as well as the innate ability to question current practices without judging or scolding his audience.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: Starting at $15,000

Book Simon Sinek, and check out his bestsellers on this list of company culture books and this list of employee engagement books.

3. Brian Carter

Speaks about: Digital marketing, innovation, customer service, talent acquisition

Brian Carter combines practicality with comedy to deliver professional tips in a memorable and entertaining way. Carter is the founder of a digital media agency and an online marketing veteran with 20 years of experience. His talks are full of takeaways about digital marketing, customer service, and professional messaging. Other common keynote topics center around recruiting and HR, workplace safety, leadership, teamwork, and innovation. Carter tailors his talks to fit the industry, and lays out actionable steps audiences can take to get noticeable results. His speaking style is laid-back and conversational, more like listening to a funny friend than a lecture.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$7,000

Book Brian Carter.

4. Jason Fried

Speaks about: Office design, remote work, entrepreneurship

Jason Fried is a cofounder of Basecamp and one of the early pioneers and advocates of the remote work movement. He writes and speaks extensively about working from home, particularly the benefits of the practice and the conditions that make virtual offices more productive and successful. More broadly, Fried also speaks to company culture, work-life balance, and business growth. His talks challenge audiences to imagine new ways to work and to adapt working environments to better suit a changing world. He delivers his observations and advice with passion and high energy, with a tone that conveys immediacy and spurs his audience to action.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $20,000-$30,000

Book Jason Fried, and check out his manifesto “ReWork” on our list of remote work books.

5. Danielle Feinberg

Speaks about: Women and girls in STEM and coding, art technology, creativity

Danielle Feinberg is a Harvard graduate and the Director of Photography at Pixar Animation Studio. She worked on movies such as A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Her talks speak to the technical aspects of art and are full of practical advice for professionals looking to break into or advance in creative industries. Feinberg is also a big proponent of female leadership in technical fields, and encourages young women to pursue education and follow interests in historically male-dominated area studies like math, technology, and science. Her speaking style is just as animated as her work.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Danielle Feinberg.

6. Carin Taylor

Speaks about: Diversity, inclusion, women in leadership, company culture

Carin Taylor is the Chief Diversity Office of Workday. Areas of expertise include employee engagement, team development, and executive coaching, with particular attention to the impact of equity and inclusion in these domains. Taylor shows organizations how diversity can supercharge innovation, and prescribes steps and strategies for building more inclusive environments. She also speaks to female leadership and the challenges modern career women face. Taylor’s speaking style is confident and spirited, and the tone she uses when discussing ways to improve workplace systems is optimistic.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Carin Taylor.

7. Ijeoma Oluo

Speaks about: Racial discourse, female leadership, social justice

Ijeoma Oluo is the author of NY Times Bestseller “So You Want to Talk About Race.” She writes and speaks extensively about race and racism, with a focus on the ways we speak about these topics. She also touches on the history and structural design of the practices, and ways to change and better imperfect institutions moving forward. Though Oluo bills herself as an “internet yeller,” she has a measured and empathetic approach to speaking about these sensitive subjects. Oluo has appeared on The Daily Show and NPR, and has earned honors such as the Harvard Humanist of the Year Award.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Ijeoma Oluo, and check out her bestseller on our list of books on diversity.

8. Todd Conklin

Speaks about: Safety and risk, organizational structure, environmental policy,

Workplace safety has long been an important subject, however the pandemic brought the issue to the forefront of many professional’s minds. The world health crisis shined a spotlight on employers’ responsibility to provide a safe workspace for employees, and made job safety a hot topic. Todd Conklin not only speaks about physical safety on the job, but also emotional and psychological safety and resilience. He also aims to help corporate parties understand ways to better support workers in the field, and show the reciprocal nature between organizational health and performance, workplace systems, and the conditions of onsite team members. Conklin makes this dry topic lively and helps audiences conceptualize safety in more meaningful ways.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Todd Conklin.

9. Fran Hauser

Speaks about: Career fulfillment, women in leadership, work-life balance

Fran Hauser’s mission is to help women build businesses and fulfilling careers. She is a former executive and a current author, consultant, and investor. During her tenure as a venture capitalist, she has invested in dozens of women-run startups. Her bestseller The Myth of the Nice Girl takes on the expectations that women need to choose between being kind and agreeable yet ineffective or tough and difficult. Her talks tap into similar notes, teaching female leaders how to earn respect and power without burying kindness and compassion. She also speaks to the challenges of balancing professional and personal goals, which is as timely a topic as ever for women in the workplace. Her speaking style is soft yet stirring, a perfect illustration of her point that women can be gentle yet assertive.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Fran Hauser.

10. Jeanne Meister

Speaks about: Recruiting, human resources, leadership strategy, the future of work

Jeanne Meister speaks about the future of work from an HR-driven perspective. She talks about trends such as the rise of the gig economy, social media, the need for upskilling and ongoing professional development, and how these conditions affect organizational behavior and the role of HR. Her book The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees lays out a blueprint for agile HR leadership in a challenging, constantly changing business landscape. Meister’s speaking style is energetic and insightful.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Jeanne Meister.

11. Ben Casnocha

Speaks about: Networking, entrepreneurship, talent retention, modern leadership

Ben Casanocha is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who speaks about the modern workplace. He frequently collaborates with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, with whom he co-authored a book, and networking in the digital age is one area of expertise. Casanocha also speaks to some of the biggest challenges that exist in business today– for instance, the multigenerational divide, and the deterioration of the lifelong career with one company– and offers practical solutions to the conflicts that arise from these conditions. He champions adopting an entrepreneurial mindset to career development, and compels listeners to treat their professional lives like building a business. His speaking style is bold and entertaining.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Ben Casnocha.

12. Matthew Luhn

Speaks about: Creativity and innovation, business communication, marketing and branding

Matthew Luhn is one of the most interesting virtual event speakers. Leveraging his double-decade career at Pixar Studios, Luhn speaks about storytelling and communicating corporate visions. His tips on crafting compelling stories can benefit a wide array of positions, from executives, to salespeople, to marketers,  to customer-facing roles. He also speaks to branding, creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Luhn’s talks lay out clear cut steps to nurturing work environments that foster creativity and composing messaging that achieves its intended results. He has an upbeat speaking style and his presentations demonstrate his storytelling mastery.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Matthew Luhn.

13. Mark DeVolder

Speaks about: Change management, motivation, performance management, resilience

Mark DeVolder has a reputation for being one of the most energetic and interactive virtual event speakers. His passion for change management is evident in the delivery of his presentations. DeVolder offers audiences practical toolkits for managing crises, leading and navigating organizational transformations, and developing resilience in an ever-changing environment. His infectious attitude and optimism reframes change as an opportunity instead of a dreadworthy event.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Mark DeVolder.

14. Dolores Huerta

Speaks about: Women’s issues, labor rights, immigration advocacy, personal growth, activism, Hispanic Heritage

Dolores Huerta is a groundbreaking civil and labor rights activist, the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, and the recipient of many distinguished awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her life’s work has revolved around fighting for the rights of immigrants, workers, women, and by extension, any party oppressed and denied human liberties. For decades, Huerta has battled against racism and sexism and promoted empowerment. Her talks give audiences the motivation, tools, and courage needed to be allies to the vulnerable. The modest price tag that comes with booking a speaking arrangement with Huerta is mind-bogglingly modest, but then again, her mission has long been to spread her message rather than to chase personal success or profit.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Dolores Huerta, and check out more of her and her contemporaries’ wise words on this list of Hispanic Heritage Month quotes.

15. Christian Conte

Speaks about: Mindfulness, mental health, conflict resolution, emotional regulation

Dr. Christian Conte is a renowned mental health specialist that speaks to audiences about emotional regulation and conflict resolution. He applies his work in prison outreach to the world at large and shows how his strategies and tactics for diffusing tensions in incarceration can resolve conflict in the corporate world. Conte instructs audiences on how to de-escalate upset, gives communication tips for speaking to angry parties, and shows how to navigate personal emotions, resist reacting, and remain in full control of behavior. He publishes a wealth of educational content on his YouTube channel and blog.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Christian Conte.

16. Shawn Kanungo

Speaks about: Business strategy, disruption, innovation

Shawn Kanungo is an expert in disruption. He draws on over a decade of experience at Deloitte as an innovation strategist, and focuses especially on digital strategy and the integration of new technology into business. He educates executives on ways to detect disruption in its early stages and tell passing trends apart from lasting transformations. Kanungo’s talks teach audiences strategies for effectively navigating change, including getting buy-in from higher ups and the general workforce. His speaking style is dynamic, and his subject matter is apropos for the breakneck speed of change in the modern business era.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $5,000-$10,000

Book Shawn Kanungo.

17. Nir Eyal

Speaks about: Focus, habit formation, productivity, technology

Nir Eyal is one of the best keynote speakers for virtual events. His expertise is the ways in which psychology and technology drive business. He is the author of bestsellers Hooked, a work that explores the qualities of irresistible and habitual products, and Indistractable, a guide for maintaining focus in a noisy modern world. His lectures hone in on the consumer decision-making and thought processes, and outline the formation of healthy habits. Eyal educates audiences about time management, discipline, design, and introspection, and presents a masterclass on conquering compulsions and mindfully practicing productivity.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $20,000-$30,000

Book Nir Eyal, and check out his bestseller on our list of business strategy books.

18. Tiffani Bova

Speaks About: Sales, business growth and strategy, client acquisition, customer experience

Tiffani Bova is one of the most engaging virtual conference keynote speakers. She holds the position of  Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Her talks focus on strategies for business growth and customer acquisition and retention. She teaches organizations how to sustainably grow and scale their business. Sales professionals within her audience come away with a better understanding of the relationship between providing benefit and positive experiences for clients and closing deals, and gain an arsenal of techniques to increase the chance of success in selling. Tiffany Bova preaches a forward-thinking mindset that encourages a more innovative and flexible approach to sales that adapts to changing times.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $20,000-$30,000

Book Tiffani Bova.

19. Jia Jiang

Speaks About: Rejection, resilience, emotional intelligence

Jia Jiang is a leader in “rejection training,” the practice of teaching professionals and individuals how to take risks and recover from failure. His passion began through a journey outlined in his popular “100 Days of Rejection,” TED talk. For around three months, Jiang sought out opportunities to be turned down. Using the insights gained through this experience, Jiang teaches his audience how to overcome the fear of failure, and shows the transformative power of hearing the word “no.” This rejection resilience is an especially useful skill for sales professionals, yet the talks offer valuable professional development for any role. The ability to act despite possible rejection is the mindset that enables innovation and creativity. Jiang’s tone is relatable, authentic, and confident, and his speaking style earned him the prestigious Golden Gavel award from Toastmasters International.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Jia Jiang.

20. Julie Zhuo

Speaks About: Management and leadership, hiring and talent management, product design and development

Julie Zhou is the author of “Making a Manager,” a book based on her time as a young executive at Facebook. During her tenure at the tech giant, she helped to develop products like the news feed and the like button, and led teams of over 250 talented professionals. Drawing on her own experience and lessons learned early in her career, Zhou shares best practices for responsibilities such as giving feedback, hiring, leading meetings, and nurturing culture. Zhou’s talks are a practical toolkit for leaders, new leaders especially. One of Zhou’s notable specialties is coaching the transition from standard employee to manager. Her speaking style is down-to-earth yet authoritative, and her talks are full of useful information.

Virtual Speaking Fee Range: $10,000-$20,000

Book Julie Zhuo, and check out her bestseller on our list of books on management.

Virtual Speaker Booking Websites

Here is a list of bureaus and sites where you can find virtual speakers for hire.

1. All American Speakers

All American Speakers is a comprehensive keynote speaker booking site that lists hundreds of distinguished scholars and thought leaders for hire. Site visitors can browse speakers by type or topic, as well as filtering by speaking fee or virtual availability. The bureau has a range of presenters from high-end celebrities to niche thought leaders.

Visit All American Speakers.

2. Big Speak

Big Speak is a database of event speakers for hire, with variable price ranges and levels of speaker notoriety. The site curates collections to top speakers and trending topics, as well as organizing speakers by subject matter and industry. Most interestingly, the site has category headings that show speakers leading companies like Tesla or Microsoft have booked in the past. Also helpful, the site links to recommended programs within the speaker’s profile.

Visit Big Speak.

3. Lets Engage

Lets Engage is a virtual speaking platform that aims to match event planners with engaging presenters. The site sorts speakers into categories such as motivational speakers, college athletes, female empowerment, entertainment, and marketing. The platform offers a streamlined booking system that makes it easy to make arrangements with presenters.

Visit Let’s Engage.

4. Executive Speakers Bureau

Executive Speakers Bureau is an organization that facilitates bookings of keynotes. The platform hosts a variety of talent, from celebrities to academics. The site’s navigation helps visitors filter by topic, fee range, and speaker gender to find a presenter that suits their needs. The site also lists a wide array of trending subjects, and allows searchers to make wishlists of speakers while browsing.

Visit Executive Speakers Bureau.

Note that many career motivational speakers have options to book keynotes through their personal business websites as well. If there is a thought leader you would like to work with, visiting their professional page is an option. Even if the expert does not advertise speaking gigs you may be able to contact their team to inquire about the possibility of making an arrangement.

Final Thoughts

Virtual keynote speakers can elevate online events like conferences and company summits from an interesting experience to an experience that employees, clients, and industry colleagues really learn and benefit from and remember. Starting or ending the event with a speaker can set the tone for the conference or provide closure. Speakers are an especially useful component for online events because guest lecturers can encourage attendance and drive participation. The best remote speakers know how to connect with their audiences, keep energy high, and include participatory elements in the presentation.

For more tips on planning remote gatherings, check out this list of virtual event platforms, and this guide to Zoom lunch and learns.

FAQ: Virtual keynote speakers 

Here are answers to common questions about virtual keynote speakers.

What are virtual keynote speakers? 

Virtual keynote speakers are lecturers who appear and give talks on events thrown in online venues, such as Zoom or virtual event software platforms. These speakers typically appear at events like company retreats, industry conferences, and webinars.

Why should you book a remote keynote speaker?

Booking a remote keynote speaker can result in increased audience engagement and a more inclusive and enriching experience for attendees. Also, the chance to interact with the speaker and ask questions in real time may incentivize more participants to join the talk in real time instead of watching the content on demand later, meaning organizers can measure a more accurate impact of the event.

Who are some good keynote speakers for virtual events?

Some good keynote speakers for virtual events include Simon Sinek, Brain Carter, Jia Jiang, Julie Zhuo, Sean Kanungo, and Matthew Luhn.

How do you find online keynote speakers?

To find online keynote speakers, go to websites like  All American Speakers, Big Speak, or Executive Speakers Bureau. Keep in mind that many thought leaders also book speaking engagements through their websites, sometimes exclusively. Another way to find such individuals is to search for TED Talks on subjects you want to address. Just be aware that the more popular the TED Talk, the more expensive the booking fee may be.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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