Differences Between A Keynote and Motivational speaker

Differences Between A Keynote and Motivational Speaker

Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling


If you have ever attended a major conference you may have wondered exactly what the difference is between a keynote speaker and the motivational speakers who presented before them. These presenters often cover similar subjects, and there may even be some overlap between the speeches. There are so many similarities between these two speakers that it can cause confusion as to what the titles represent. To analyze the differences between these speakers you must understand their similarities, figure out how they differ, and know the pay scale based on level of expertise.


ICMI Speakers Bureau hosts several motivational keynote speaker profiles that can be viewed to further understand the subtle differences between the two presentations.


To understand the differences you must first understand what they have in common. The most noticeable similarity is that motivational and keynote speakers often speak at the same event. One can even present right after the other. These individuals have vibrant personalities that command the attention of everyone in the room. Each speaker has an important role of informing and inspiring the audience. They try to connect with the listener through comedy and life experiences that people relate to. The best speakers are experts in their field, or have become successful despite overwhelming adversity. They have the unique ability to convey their message in a concise manner that is both entertaining and well informed.


Most people do not know the differences between a keynote speaker and a motivational speaker. The differences are subtle but important. The obvious difference is that the keynote speaker is the last person to deliver a speech at a convention, or any event with several speakers. A keynote speaker’s job is to provide an all encompassing presentation that sums up the overall purpose of the event. Their presentation will essentially serve as the mission statement for a particular event. A motivational speaker’s role is to evoke a visceral reaction from the audience that will trigger a positive change in their life, or career. A motivational speaker’s message is directed to a specific field and will give an in depth analysis and provide potential resolution strategies to help the listener achieve their goals.


A keynote speaker is often the focal point of an event, so they are often paid at a much higher rate than all other presenters. Most motivational speakers will make between $1,500 – $10,000 for speaking at a large convention, while a keynote speaker will make between $10,000 – $20,000 per speech. There are only a handful of motivational speakers that make as much as keynote speakers, and they are often celebrities, or a well known expert in the field that demands a higher rate. These “celebrity” speakers can make as much as $20,000 – $100,000 a speech. The celebrities are not to be outdone by the mega famous, such as: politicians, CEOs, and Billionaires, who all make more than $100,000 to deliver an hour long speech.
The largest differences between these two speakers are: order of speaking, goal of presentation, level of expertise, and compensation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s