5 Accomplished Public Speakers

Public speaking is something that many people fear, but it can be a powerful way to get a message across to a group of people. Whether in a meeting, at a conference, or through a webinar, speeches can teach valuable skills, share personal experiences, and spread new ideas. The public speakers listed here have given talks on a variety of topics, from tiny houses to patient empowerment. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Experienced Public Speakers

Name Notable Work
Felice Cohen 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet
Dr. Alan Zimmerman The Payoff Principle
Sarah Cortez Cold Blue Steel
Dave deBronkart Let Patients Help!
Meridith Elliott Powell Who Comes Next?

Public Speaking Skills

  • Oration
  • Gestures & body language
  • Inflection (vocal control)
  • Word choice & vocabulary
  • Sense of humor
  • Knowing an audience
  • Sincerity
  • Effective introductions & conclusions

TED's Secret To Great Public Speaking

Famous Historical Speeches

Public speaking is a tradition that dates back to Ancient Greece, and many speeches continue to be studied decades after they were first delivered. Here are a few notable examples:

Speech Speaker Year
Funeral Oration Pericles 427 BCE
The Golden Speech Queen Elizabeth I 1601
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Patrick Henry 1775
Ain't I a Woman? Sojourner Truth 1851
Gettysburg Address Abraham Lincoln 1863
I Have A Dream Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963

How To Speak With Confidence

In Depth

Public speaking is a powerful skill that has the capacity to change how audiences think and behave. At its best, it can inspire and empower, spur positive transformations, and motivate success in business and in life. Presented in no particular order, the acclaimed speakers included here bring years of experience and expertise to keynotes, lectures, seminars, webinars, and more, providing knowledge and guidance to individuals and organizations alike.

At #1 is Felice Cohen, an author, professional organizer, and Holocaust educator. In 2010, a YouTube video of Cohen showing off her Manhattan micro-studio went viral, leading to a deluge of people asking her for advice on organizing and decluttering. This inspired her book "90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet," which offers lessons on living the life you want in any size space.

It was after moving into that tiny studio that Cohen was able to finish her first book, "What Papa Told Me," a memoir about her Holocaust survivor grandfather. Cohen speaks about her "living large" lifestyle as well as her grandfather's experiences at numerous venues, and is a featured speaker with the Jewish National Fund and Jewish Book Council. She has also presented at several Tiny House festivals and at the American Society for Yad Vashem.

She has also presented at several Tiny House festivals and at the American Society for Yad Vashem.

For #2 we have Dr. Alan Zimmerman, who draws on his extensive industry experience to talk about attitude, communication, and leadership. Working with Fortune 500 companies and all manner of organizations, he provides tools to help businesses solve challenges, enhance and maintain essential skills, and achieve success. Zimmerman has presented over 2,500 programs in countries around the world, and has authored a number of books on life and work.

With an emphasis on audience engagement, Zimmerman's keynotes and seminars teach specific, step-by-step approaches for transforming communication inside and outside of organizations. Among his most popular programs are Up Your Attitude, which provides secrets for boosting confidence, and 4C Leadership, which focuses on practical tools that can lead to better results. Zimmerman also offers 60-minute webinars, each of which can fit into a training session or other format.

Arriving at #3 is Sarah Cortez. Born in Houston, Texas, Cortez is a poet, editor, educator, and speaker whose writing has been anthologized and published in a variety of journals. Honored by the International Latino Book Awards, among other groups, her work is informed by her experiences as a law enforcement officer, teacher, and proud Mexican-American. Her books include the poetry collection "Cold Blue Steel" and the memoir "Walking Home."

Born in Houston, Texas, Cortez is a poet, editor, educator, and speaker whose writing has been anthologized and published in a variety of journals.

Cortez speaks to police departments, citizen's police academies, and other public safety organizations with the aim of inspiring officers and supervisors. For regular adult audiences, she offers speeches that cover topics related to the development of her creative career. Cortez also presents to children and teens, and holds workshops that provide various writing exercises. Her engagements are suitable for literary festivals, seminars, and high school and college writing classes.

For #4 we come to Dave deBronkart, known on the internet as "e-Patient Dave." A survivor of stage IV kidney cancer, he is a health blogger, policy advisor, and international keynote speaker who advocates for the patient engagement movement. He is also the co-founder and chair emeritus of the Society for Participatory Medicine, and has written health-related books, chapters, and myriad journal and blog articles.

Talks by deBronkart have taken place everywhere from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to the DevDays conference in Amsterdam. Among his standard topics are patient empowerment, healthcare transformation, and facing and overcoming adversity, including the threat of death. In addition to conference speeches, panels, policy meetings, and corporate events, deBronkart presents lectures and seminars at academic and medical institutions, and has given a popular TED Talk.

Talks by deBronkart have taken place everywhere from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to the DevDays conference in Amsterdam.

Finally, landing at #5 is Meridith Elliott Powell, a writer, motivational keynote speaker, and business strategist with a background in corporate sales and leadership. Her presentations focus on the strategies necessary to grow an organization in today's unpredictable marketplace, and show clients how to attract more business, increase sales, and be in a position to thrive in the economy. Additionally, Powell has books, online courses, and a podcast devoted to these topics.

In her most requested keynote, Change Redefined, Powell walks audiences through strategic steps for mastering uncertainty, preparing for disruptions, and dominating the competition. Other presentations focus on leadership development, sales, succession plans, and the power of struggle to motivate success. Powell delivers these programs both in person and online, with streaming and webinars as available options. For individuals and groups, she also offers business growth and leadership coaching and consulting services.