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by Loren G. Edelstein | March 01, 2014

In our March 2014 M&C Research poll, we asked meeting professionals, "Who is the single best speaker you have heard in the past two years?" Following are their responses, arranged alphabetically by topical categories. (See results from 2012 here and 2013 here.)

BUSINESS SKILLS

• Mike Abrashoff, U.S. Navy captain; leadership, management techniques; washingtonspeakers.com
• Rocky Blier, Vietnam army veteran, former NFL player; leadership, teamwork, perseverance; rockyblier.com
• Joel Cohen, writer, co-executive producer, The Simpsons; innovation, creativity, teamwork; thelavinagency.com
• Barbara Corcoran, real-estate mogul, business consultant; leadership, branding, marketing; barbaracorcoran.com
Warren Evans, CSP, consultant; business trends, branding, marketing; wevans.com
• John Foley, former lead solo pilot for the Blue Angels; improving performance, teamwork; johnfoleyinc.com
• Steven G. Foster, CMP, CTA, managing partner, Foster+Fathom Inc.; leadership, strategic planning team success; garrettspeakers.com
• Juliet Funt, owner of WhiteSpace at Work training and consultancy, daughter of Allen Funt of Candid Camera fame; creativity, productivity and engagement; whitespaceatwork.com
• Deborah Gardner, CMP, author, competitive performance expert, former CBS Sports broadcaster, Olympic trial swimmer, hospitality meetings and sales strategies; DeborahGardner.com
• Stedman Graham, author, educator, managing and marketing consultant; leadership and management strategies; stedmangraham.com
• Darren Hardy, publisher, Success magazine; business trends, managing change, leadership; darenhardy.com
• Susan Harrow, president, Harrow Communications; marketing/media coach for women entrepreneurs; susanharrow.com
• William Hickey, president, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp.; manufacturing and the American economy; lapham-hickey.com
• Sally Hogshead, author, brand expert; brand innovation, how to influence decision-makers, marketing; sallyhogshead.com
• AmyK Hutchins, leadership program leader, sales trainer; amyk.com
• Katherine Miracle, consultant, founder and owner, Miracle Resources; advertising, branding, marketing, public relations; katherinemiracle.com
• Kaplan Mobray, author, career consultant; leadership, personal branding, teamwork, productivity; kaplanmobray.com
• Terri Murphy, former top real-estate sales agent; leadership, effective marketing; brokeragentspeakers.com
• David Neeleman, founder and former CEO of JetBlue Airways; sales, marketing and branding; leadership; allamericanspeakers.com
• Kevin O' Connor, consultant, president of Kevin E. O'Connor & Associates, Ltd.; management, business relationships, thriving in uncertain times; kevinoc.com
• Vince Poscente, author, performance strategist, former Olympic athlete; communication, sales, meeting goals; vinceposcente.com
• Doug Rauch, former president, Trader Joe's; corporate culture, customer service, team building; caaspeakers.com
• Sean Scanlon, senior director for philanthropy, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology; "Integrated and Inbound Marketing for Nonprofits: A Case Study From the Lab of Ornithology"; birds.cornell.edu
• Simon Sinek, author, leadership expert; leadership, secrets of successful companies, caaspeakers.com
• Mandi Stanley, CSP, business author; leadership, writing and speaking, overcoming organizational obstacles; mandistanley.com

CURRENT AFFAIRS/MEDIA

• Tom Brokaw, former anchor, current correspondent, NBC Nightly News; media and journalism, American politics; washingtonspeakers.com
• Bill Clinton, former U.S. president; politics, humanitarian concerns; harrywalker.com
• Alastair Fothergill, producer of nature documentaries for movies and TV; environmental policy; creativity, innovation; eqspeakers.com
• Malcolm Gladwell, staff writer, The New Yorker; media and journalism; gladwell.com
• Margaret Hoover, CNN political contributor, author; the need for a new, moderate conservatism; greatertalent.com
• Amy Klobuchar, U.S. senator (D. Minn.); agriculture, jobs and the economy, technology and education; klobuchar.senate.gov
• Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University professor and former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; when science meets politics, oceans, earth's climate; oregonstate.edu
• Rick Mercer, Canadian comedian and television personality; Canada vs. U.S., politics; rickmercer.com
• Colin Powell, former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; former secretary of state; honorary chairman, Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership; achievement, crisis management, foreign policy, leadership, teamwork; washingtonspeakers.com
• Condoleeza Rice, former secretary of state; Africa, American politics, leadership, women and politics; washingtonspeakers.com
• William Shatner, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor; his career, entertainment, media; celebritytalent.net

GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES

• Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, interim chancellor, Indiana University Southeast; "does a great talk on how to work with the Millennial generation -- very helpful for leaders in any industry to hear"; facebook.com/barbara.bichelmeyer
• Curt Steinhorst, consultant; the emerging workforce; curtsteinhorst.com

HEALTH

• Stephen Lewis, co-founder, co-director, AIDS-Free World; combating AIDS in Africa; stephenlewisfoundation.org

LIFE BALANCE/MOTIVATIONAL/PERSONAL

• Deborah Brock and Greg Brock, marriage enrichment counselors; relationships, spirituality; familiesintraining.info/index.html
• Les Brown, author, radio and TV host; personal/professional growth; lesbrown.com
• Dan Candell, hypnotist, hypnotherapist; personal/professional growth, improving your golf game; dancandell.com
• Christopher Gardner, former brokerage-firm owner; overcoming obstacles; chrisgardnermedia.com
• Col. Chris Hadfield, author, astronaut, first Canadian commander of the International Space Station; science and space travel; caaspeakers.com
• Jeff Henderson, chef, human potential coach; personal/professional growth; kepplerspeakers.com
• Merril Hoge, ESPN analyst, former NFL star, cancer survivor; overcoming obstacles in life/business; merrilhoge.com
• Dick Hoyt, personal story of running marathons and triathalons while pushing his disabled son in a wheelchair; teamhoyt.com
• James Earl Jones, actor; creativity, overcoming obstacles; allamericanspeakers.com
• Salman Kahn, founder of the Khan Academy, providing free online education worldwide; education, personal/professional growth; khanacademy.org, thelavinagency.com
• Mark Kelly, former Space Shuttle commander for NASA; husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords; balancing career and family, how he dealt with assassination attempt on his wife and her ongoing convalescence; kepplerspeakers.com
• Kari Knutson, consultant; education, developing interpersonal skills, bridging cultural and communication divides; zoetraining.com
• Allison Massari, executive coach, artist; wellness, personal and professional success; AllisonMassari.com
• Kyle Maynard, competitive athlete, born without hands and feet; overcoming adversity; kyle-maynard.com
• DeDe Murcer Moffett, former corporate sales executive; overcoming adversity, achieving personal fulfillment; dedemurcermoffett.com
• Myles Munroe, founder, president, Bahamas Faith Ministries International; spirituality, leadership; bfmmm.com
• Stacy Nadeau, Dove model and spokesperson for the company's "real women with real curves" campaign; body image and personal growth; campuspeak.com
Sydney Poitier, actor, humanitarian; overcoming adversity, helping others; caaspeakers.com
• V.J. Smith, author; personal/professional growth; vj-smith.com
• Larry Winget, "the pit bull of personal development"; larrywinget.com
• Keni Thomas, served as ranger in the Blackhawk Down mission; country music artist, spokesperson for The Hero Fund; leadership, overcoming obstacles; kenithomas.com/speaker
• Dick Vitale, college basketball analyst for ABC Sports and ESPN; setting and meeting individual/organizational goals; dicvitaleonline.com
• Monica Wofford, CSP, former corporate executive; personal/professional growth; ContagiousCompanies.com

MEETINGS INDUSTRY

• Rachel Benedick, vice president, sales and services, Visit Denver; destination/event management; denver.org
• Shawna Suckow, CMP, founder/president, SPIN (Senior Planners Industry Network); meetings management; shawnasuckow.com

MILITARY

• Marcus Luttrell,
 retired U.S. Navy SEAL; courage, integrity and patriotism; marcusluttrell.com
• Maj. Dan Pantaleo, retired Marine Corps major; "he was one of the first responders at the Pentagon when it was hit on 9/11. Powerful speaker with a great message to businesses about leadership during chaotic and stressful situations"; danpantaleo.com

SPORTS

• Walter Bond, former NBA player and business owner; responsibility and productivity; walterbond.com
• Lucas Daniel Boyce, director, business development and legislative affairs, Orlando Magic NBA basketball team; overcoming obstacles, personal/professional growth; lucasdanielboyce.com
• Magic Johnson, retired pro basketball player; sports, overcoming obstacles; magicjohnson.com
• Apollo Ohno, retired short-track speed skater, Olympic gold medalist; sports, personal/professional growth; apoloantonohno.com

TECHNOLOGY

• Lowell Catlett, Ph.D., educator, author; emerging technologies; lowellcatlett.com
• Beth Ziesenis, technology expert; using tech to "help release your Inner Nerd to become more organized, efficient and awesome at work and home"; yournerdybestfriend.com

TRAVEL

• Andrew Evans, contributing editor, National Geographic Traveler; "he was absolutely an engaging storyteller who tied in his message to our transit conference. Everyone loved him!!"; events.nationalgeographic.com
• Dave Serino, strategist, educator; travel, tourism, meetings, social media; slideshare.net/daveserino
• Rick Steves, guidebook author, TV travel host; how to be a smart, independent traveler, European travel; ricksteves.com