With the world on lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, conferences and workshops are being cancelled or postponed until further notice. If you were organizing an event for your company and don’t know how to continue, contact a virtual keynote speaker.

With modern technology, video conference calls are easy to set up and can be done remotely if necessary, with all of the same benefits. This means you can now make your conference or workshop with a virtual experience for your audience. There are many keynote speakers who are already accustomed to this channel, often participating in webinars, Facebook Live events, podcasts, and YouTube presentations.

This article will provide you with the top 26 virtual speakers and what distinguishes them from other speakers. You can also learn about what to look for in a virtual speaker as well as discover how to create a successful online conference or workshop.

Best Virtual Speaker Overview

1. John Hall

Best personable virtual speaker with timely topics on trust and relationship building.

2. Brian Solis

Best seasoned virtual speaker and author as well as in-demand data analyst.

3. Lena Requist

Best motivating virtual speaker for startup audiences and enterprises.

4. Erik Huberman

Best virtual speaker for engaging stories.

5. Rory Vaden

Best virtual speaker with track record of speaking awards.

6. Tracey Grace

Best virtual speaker for workplace diversity and training.

7. Andrew Thomas

Best virtual speaker for empowerment and startup launch strategies.

8. Chris Dyer

Best virtual speaker with their own podcast.

9. Nir Eyal

Best virtual speaker for learning about attention management and productivity.

10. Jon Vroman

Best virtual speaker with a nonprofit background.

11. Chris Schembra

Best virtual speaker for a passionate delivery about people and relationships.

12. Bob Glazer

Best virtual speaker for small business success and recognition.

13. Eli Schwartz

Best virtual speaker on transition from paid channels to organic growth.

14. Brittany Hodak

Best virtual speaker for topics focused on customer loyalty and brand advocates.

15. Jeff Winters

Best virtual speaker for virtual sales conferences and topics about lead generation.

16. Tiffani Bova

Best virtual speaker for global conference and industry expertise.

17. Jonathan Keyser

Best virtual speaker for motivational success across commercial real estate and the general business environment.

18. Ashleigh Dilello

Best virtual speaker with an intriguing background as a chronic illness survivor, professional dancer, and innovative health specialist.

19. John Ruhlin

Best virtual speaker for sales, networking, and relationship-building topics.

20. Shep Hyken

Best virtual speaker with a humorous delivery and focus on the customer experience.

21. Sarah Hill

Best virtual speaker for technology, including virtual and augmented reality.

22. Joel Goldberg

Best virtual speaker for culture-building and storytelling subjects.

23. Chris Yeh

Best virtual speaker for “playing the rebound” and growing during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

24. Shama Hyder

Best virtual speaker for marketing and selling in the digital age.

25. William Arruda

Best motivational virtual speaker for engaging top talent.

26. Richard Lorenzen

Best virtual speaker on global entrepreneurship.

Here are the top virtual keynote speakers you’ll ever hear:

1. John Hall

John Hall is unique in that he’s very personable in his keynotes, which is important when looking for a virtual keynote speaker. He wrote the bestselling book Top of Mind, and his subjects are timely, given how important building trust and remaining top of mind are for customers, partners, and other business stakeholders working remotely.

2. Brian Solis

Few people understand the impact that technology has had on business and society more than Brian Solis. Thirty years of experience have led to seven bestselling books and heavily sought-after skills as a digital analyst. His work, along with a popular online video series called “(r)evolution,” has garnered a loyal online fan base topping 700,000.

3. Lena Requist

From a startup to a multi-million-dollar enterprise, Lena Requist is in the perfect position to talk to businesses of all sizes. As president of Ontraport, her company has grown 5,000% and was named one of Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies in America.” She believes in an inside-out approach to business, and she attributes Ontraport’s success to this perspective. She explores how team development leads to company success, aiding both the business and the individual. She is one of our top virtual keynote speakers for her experience and motivation on stage.

4. Erik Huberman

A storyteller at heart, Erik Huberman’s insights into entrepreneurship will prove to be unique and memorable. He is the co-founder and CEO of Hawke Media, an agency valued at more than $60 million after only six years in business. He was named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” and has the composure of a seasoned veteran.

5. Rory Vaden

The World Championship of Public Speaking hosts 10 contestants from a pool of 25,000 from more than 90 different countries. Rory has made that exclusive cut not once, but twice, including a World Champion first runner-up finish. On top of his speaking prowess, his book Take The Stairs is a No. 1 bestseller on multiple platforms. He believes in ultra performance and teaches that focus is the most important thing you can have. He works especially hard to customize every presentation for each audience.

6. Tracey Grace

The president and CEO of IBEX has received numerous awards for her professional work. Tracey Grace has more than 20 years of experience in the training and information technology industry and is a pioneer of diversity in the workplace. When speaking about her success, she says, “It’s the people and ideas that I allowed into my inner circle that determined my life direction; it is my insatiable curiosity that impacted my ultimate success.”

7. Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas promises to be candid and authentic with his speaking. His main source of experience comes from co-founding SkyBell, one of the first video doorbell companies. There, he drove over $100 million in revenue as its chief revenue officer. He’s spoken for a variety of news channels and companies, sharing the stories of his successes and failures, as well as what he learned from those experiences. His true desire is helping to empower others to identify their dreams and pinpoint how they can accomplish them.

8. Chris Dyer

The podcast “TalentTalk” has more than 3.65 million downloads, giving you many reasons to listen to its host, Chris Dyer. He was named one of Inc.’s “10 Leadership Speakers That Can Help Your Company Culture” and has spoken all over the world, lending insight into how performance can be driven through company culture. An incredibly adaptable speaker, Dyer has a number of messages he can share that get to the heart of what your company needs.

9. Nir Eyal

A behavioral designer by trade, Nir Eyal’s goal as a speaker is to help people protect their attention from the negative effects of technology. The author of two bestselling books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, Eyal’s work draws from research on how we get distracted, as well as his own attention management tactics.

10. Jon Vroman

Jon Vroman is the mastermind behind the Front Row Foundation, a charity that helps those with life-threatening illnesses attend their dream events. The name stems from his mantra, “Make moments matter.” As a highly successful keynote speaker, his goal is to help others adopt that mindset and “live life in the front row.” He is also a bestselling author who’s been requested to speak at more than 750 venues over the past decade.

11. Chris Schembra

Chris Schembra’s passion for people makes him an unforgettable speaker. He is the founder and chief question asker of 7:47, an organization committed to sparking connections among people at small dinner parties. Schembra also wrote Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce For Human Connection, a book that explains how to deepen relationships with others through gratitude and sharing a meal. During a time of social distancing, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss.

12. Bob Glazer

You know you’re doing something right when you’re ranked the No. 2 small business CEO on Glassdoor. Bob Glazer is also one of Forbes’ “20 Speakers You Shouldn’t Miss” and one of Entrepreneur’s “11 Amazing and Unforgettable Speakers.” His passion is helping companies and individuals develop high-performing cultures. He has personally been one of the best virtual speakers I’ve ever heard.

13. Eli Schwartz

Eli Schwartz works with large-scale growth companies on building products poised for hypergrowth. As an SEO expert and digital marketing consultant, Eli has assisted world-renowned B2B and B2C companies like WordPress, Quora, Blue Nile, and Shutterstock with strategies designed to grow organically. He is also the former director of growth at SurveyMonkey, building organic search from the ground up. Eli is a regular speaker at marketing events throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, as well as serves as a guest lecturer at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Singapore’s Civil Service College, and the Founder’s Institute.

14. Brittany Hodak

If you’re looking at building a loyal fan base for your brand, look no further than Brittany Hodak. Co-founder of The Superfan Company, she has been instrumental in creating successful ad campaigns for the likes of Disney and Amazon. This Billboard “30 under 30” member has all the tools you’ll need to create customer loyalty for your company. I saw a virtual keynote Brittany gave last week and I was impressed.

15. Jeff Winters

The president of Sapper Consulting, lead generation is Jeff Winters’ expertise. Taking a human approach to lead generation has helped his company triple its growth three different times. His approach has been highlighted a number of times in places such as Forbes and Entrepreneur, and some have claimed it’s 300% more effective than traditional methods. You’re sure to learn something new and innovative when listening to Winters.

16. Tiffani Bova

Tiffani Bova’s résumé is almost too extensive to be summarized. The growth and innovation evangelist of Salesforce is a highly sought-after keynote speaker who has given more than 500 presentations in every corner of the globe. She excels in business innovation and uses her analytical prowess to develop bold strategies for growth.

17. Jonathan Keyser

Jonathan Keyser has more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience under his belt, and he’s sharing the biggest secret to his success as a keynote speaker. In his own words, “I used to be ruthless. Transforming to selflessness skyrocketed my success. Now, I teach others to do the same.” He preaches selfless service instead of the cutthroat approach that has been so prevalent in his industry, and he wants to show others how making the change leads to big benefits. He is known online as a top virtual motivational speaker because of how much he cares.

18. Ashleigh Dilello

At the young age of 13, Ashleigh Dilello was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that changed her path. She has since become a professional Broadway dancer and has appeared on shows such as “Dancing with the Stars.” She wants to share her personal experience with others who are struggling with their bodies and help them recognize and embrace their self-worth. Her secret to success is what she calls Bio Emotional Healing™, which she explains makes all the difference.

19. John Ruhlin

Cutco, the company specializing in knives and kitchenware, has more than 1.5 million representatives and distributors in its ranks. John Ruhlin closed the biggest deals of all of them. He’s now asked to speak across the country to teach sales and relationship-building techniques. His book, Giftology, highlights his particular method of gift-giving to build trust and close sales like never before. His virtual keynote presentations focus on strengthening relationships to help you stand out and drive more sales than ever.

20. Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is an inductee of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame, a testament to his dazzling career as a keynote speaker. He specializes in customer service; Shepard Presentations, his company, has worked with hundreds of companies on improving their customer experience. Prepare to be amazed as Hyken is known for adding humor and magic for an unforgettable presentation.

21. Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill is the CEO of Healium; she’s a virtual and augmented reality expert. She created a technology that’s powered by a customer’s heart rate and brainwaves. After 20 years as a reporter covering trauma, she has unique insight into the world of virtual and augmented reality that will inspire most groups. Hill developed Healium for herself, as well as for the 41 million others who struggle with anxiety.

22. Joel Goldberg

Joel Goldberg heads Joel Goldberg Media, where his nearly three decades of experience in television and sports media give him unique insight into building relationships and brands. He’s been part of the Kansas City Royals’ broadcast team for FOX Sports for 12 years and does play-by-play TV broadcasts for the Kansas City Mavericks. His years of experience with professional sports have developed his networking prowess and helped him learn what builds successful teams. As a speaker, he focuses on growth, building trust, and developing meaningful relationships.

23. Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh focuses on helping leaders plan for and execute high-growth strategies. Currently, his focus is on “playing the rebound” to help businesses bounce back better than their competitors when the COVID-19 crisis recedes. Along with Reid Hoffman, he is the co-author of two bestselling books, Blitzscaling and The Alliance. Yeh has delivered more than 1,000 virtual presentations in his career.

24. Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder is a trailblazing, award-winning entrepreneur who has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. Shama is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, now in its fourth edition, and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Shama has delivered keynotes in more than 20 countries and spoken for recognized brands including Movado, Chase, Tupperware, and the Inc. 5000.

25. William Arruda

William Arruda

William Arruda uses his passion and enthusiasm to make virtual presentations feel like they’re in-person events. As the leading authority on the topic of personal branding, he shares his proven process for uncovering, expressing and growing your personal brand in the virtual world. Today, businesses need an extra dose of humanity, and William’s live virtual keynotes inspire talent to bring their authentic selves to work. He has built a reputation as the keynote speaker whose presentations are both motivational and actionable.

26. Richard Lorenzen

Richard Lorenzen is an American entrepreneur, investor and the CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, a New York-based public relations firm. He speaks on entrepreneurship, foreign policy and the economy at the United Nations, TEDx, universities and corporate forums. Richard is regularly cited as one of America’s most influential millennial entrepreneurs and has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Fox News, Entrepreneur Magazine, AdWeek, PRWeek and more. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked him one of the top 50 people in digital marketing and Inc. Magazine named him one of the top inspirational entrepreneurs.

Other Top Speakers For Your Virtual Event

Looking for a few top speakers for your next event. Here are a few other top speakers we’ve found:

Guide to the Best Speakers

A few other guides to finding the best speakers:

When looking for the best speakers for your virtual conference or workshop, there are some key traits that can make all the difference with all well your virtual event goes.

Know what you want

Before you approach keynote speakers for your virtual speakers, be prepared by having a framework for your virtual event, the speaker personas that fit that event, and your budget, among other things.

Start with an objective for your virtual conference in terms of what you want to achieve by hosting the event. If your event focuses on industry trends, you will need to find speakers adept at that industry and understanding the forces that influences it.

From there, determine what type of speaker personas can enhance the event. Do you want someone that is edgy, funny, or deeply personal? Think about your potential audience and the type of speakers they would enjoy. With this in mind, it’s also important to align the presentation style used by these prospective virtual speakers. The style should consider length, visual aids, and format.

Also, know your budget first. Having a fee range in mind prior to your virtual speaker search can optimize the time spent for both you and the speakers you approach.

Other Considerations

After deciding on what you want, the next step is to conduct research and assess each of your virtual speaker prospects. Some considerations include:

  • Will the virtual deliver targeted and unique content for my audience? You don’t want to go with a virtual speaker that just recycles their same presentation for each event. Your audience may have already seen them give that presentation and not see any value in what you offer them.
  • Is the virtual speaker flexible and easy to work with? Look for a virtual speaker that is responsive, thorough, helpful, and friendly. If they look at working with you on your virtual event as a partnership, then you will want to bring them on. This positive interaction can go a long way toward a fun and successful event for everyone involved.
  • Can they add extra value to your event through additional content? While taking the virtual stage is already delivering good value, you can raise the bar to exceptional value if your virtual speaker has books or other content where they can share more content for the audience to “take home.”

Due Diligence

While it may not be difficult to find your ideal virtual speakers because you can conduct online research or get referrals from your network, the challenging part may be how you approach and win over the targeted speaking prospects for your virtual conference. Here’s a strategy to approach this part of the process:

  • Get started on your virtual speaker hunt early. Even though conferences have moved online and are just ramping up, your virtual speaker may already be booked weeks or months in advance. Plan your search accordingly, based on your virtual conference dates. This will reduce the stress of getting your ideal virtual speakers on the agenda.
  • Take the time to watch videos of your speaker prospects in action at past events. Even if you can’t do it live now that it’s not possible, sites like YouTube as well as the speaker bureau or speaker’s own website have recordings. It’s also possible to request a speaker reel directly from the speaker or their bureau. The real offers short presentation clips.
  • Check speaker references and speak to those who have incorporated targeted speakers in past events. In doing so, you will learn more about what they are like. From there, you can shorten your list.

Approaching Your Ideal Virtual Speakers

Once you have done these things, you should approach your ideal virtual speakers with clear information about your conference, what it involves and the role they would play. Be flexible because your ideal speakers may also want to share feedback on the panel topics or keynote focus. Their experience in doing past conferences can become a valuable resource for shaping the success of your event.

Get everything in writing, including your expectations and that of each speaker. Having a formal agreement helps everyone feel comfortable and confident about working together. Once its on paper that each virtual speaker plans to be part of your event, get their feedback on how to include them in the pre- and post-marketing effort for your virtual event.

Now that you have your virtual speakers in place, it’s time to plan and oversee a successful online event.

How to Create a Successful Online Event

Having the right speaker or speaker lineup is just one of the many factors that go into hosting a successful online event or virtual industry conference. Here are some other critical components:

Focus on Video

A virtual conference needs video of the speakers and/or panel to engage your online audience. No one wants to just look at a screen share of a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, seeing the speaker’s body language and facial expressions personalizes the experience and adds to their message.

Since webinar platforms support videoconferencing, having video should be fairly easy to showcase for your virtual event. Have your speakers practice using video conferencing tools prior to the event, especially if they are new to this technology.

Decide on Audio

Like video, the audio you use for your virtual conference can make or break your event. Your conference is live, so the audio must be flawless because there is no time to tweak it or address poor sound quality. Your audience doesn’t want to wait and watch you struggle with the speaker’s microphone, the audio platform, or the network you are using to transmit your event.

Test out various audio options during the event preparation process. Look for services that deliver audio quality, including those recommended by other event hosts.

Plan Unique Content and a Compelling Agenda

Take the time to develop the content and agenda with your speakers. Their input and your understanding of the target audience can create a world-class virtual conference. If it goes well in terms of delivering a unique experience, then you will be more likely to attract a larger audience and parlay that into future events.

Focus on Interactive Features

To keep your audience engaged and enhance what the virtual speaker talent offers, look for ways to add interactive features to your online event. For example, have a Q&A session where viewers can send in questions. You can also consider adding a poll during a specific session to get audience input on the speaker’s topic.

Conduct Virtual Session Run-throughs

Just like you would have done when hosting an in-person conference, your virtual conference should have a few run-throughs so that speakers can go over their presentations and panels can agree on how they will run their session.

Also, this is the opportune time to test and re-test all audio and video equipment. Your audio/video quality, Internet connection, equipment, screen sharing, host-to-speaker private messaging, and interactive features must be flawless.

Have a Contingency Plan For Tech Issues

No matter how often you check and re-check, there are bound to be technical issues. Make sure your audio-visual technicians are ready to take on any tech issue that could possibly impact your virtual conference.

One of the biggest things to go wrong with an online conference is network connectivity. You need to be prepared for bandwidth and how many people may sign on to view your online conference. While you want the most people possible, you also don’t want the platform you are using to crash.

Make sure your tech talent has contingency plans in place to address the loss of connectivity, audio or video glitches, or lost speaker presentation files. The larger your risk assessment and planning process, the more likely you are to minimize any technical issues from impacting your audience’s overall experience.

Implement a Marketing and Publicity Plan

You want to attract the most people to your online conference as possible, so that means creating a marketing and publicity strategy just for your virtual event. Explore your options for the channels and content that can reach your intended audience. For example, use sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook to create events. You can also create an email blast and website landing page. Or, if possible, designate and develop an entire online event website with links for registration. Another option is to Develop and feature a blog post about the event.

Don’t deliver all the news about your online event at once. Provide teasers that reveal some news leading up to the event, such as revealing a featured virtual speaker each week prior to the event date. This provides an opportunity to continue contacting your audience and reminding them about the event. The approach can also help generate more buzz around your virtual conference.

Decide on Takeaways and Post-Event Marketing Tactics

During and after your online event, you have more opportunities. While you can’t recreate the “experience” associated with in-person events like networking opportunities and dinners, you can do other things to enhance the experience and add value.  Ideas include an event summary download, a digital coupon for a virtual speaker’s book, or a discount for products and services featured at the online event.

Find ways to get more marketing ROI through post-event tactics. For example, you could feature video excerpts on various social media channels or panel and keynote summaries. You can use these to generate online discussions and blog posts that repackage and expand on the ideas presented throughout your virtual conference or workshop.

Also, don’t forget to conduct a survey among online attendees to find out what they liked and what could have been better. Ask them what they would like to see from future virtual conferences so you can start planning for those.

Virtual Speakers and Planning Create Memorable Virtual Events

The world of virtual conferences is just getting started. Despite turning the conference and events industries into a tailspin, technology and innovative planning, combined with forward-thinking speaker talent, have the opportunity to shape and grow an entirely new channel for virtual conferences, trade shows, training courses, and workshops.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.