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Hey friends! I have a question for you. Who is the best speaker you've seen and what did they talk about? Or are there any up-and-coming speakers you'd like to see more of and why?
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+Barry Adams was hugely entertaining as well an informative at SASCon, Manchester (UK) last year on SEO for eCommerce sites and on how Google Merchant Centre 'owns your ass.' ;-) Purely on 'saying it how it is' value, he's getting my vote. At the same event, the Conversion Rate Experts were also phenomenal.
Uh, what should I say? A colleague of mine said today that going to SMX Munich would be worthwhile for the Keynote speaker alone. And I agree, that guy is really awesome.
+Dan Shure ! I've never heard him speak at a conference, but his posts are awesome!
+Craig Rispin is an awesome speaker. He spoke for our business network +Westside Business Women Inc last year on the topic of innovation - "Know first, Be first, Profit first". Craig really gets you thinking and see's things from a completely different angle. He turns any problem on its head and into something positive you can use - a true innovator. He stayed until everyone had left the event and had one on one's with him to answer their specific questions. Very personable and knowledgeable guy on new tech and innovation.
I'd like to BE one of the up-and-coming speakers. ;) And, per Twitter, I'm supposed to tell you why: I'm passionate about eradicating snake-oil SEOs and I love researching effective SEO tactics. I'd also love to get ideas out into the community and talk them over with you, yknow, become a better marketer and all that.
Gotta give props to +Michael King, of course. But +John Doherty has also been killin' in his posts as well. Haven't seen John speak yet, but I'm sure he's great at that too :)
I'd say on a local level (and may be a bit biased here) +Jeff Sauer as he communicates what he knows in a fun and informative manner and his presentations always look awesome.
Joost de Valk and Bryan Eisenberg. Also: Gerry McGovern. They talk about SEO, website optimization, landing page tasks and such.
+Joanna Lord - serious knowledge shared in a way totally digestible - wish every speaker had that rare combination of skills and talent
One that I always love listening and learning from is +Debra Mastaler - always dropping some great golden nuggets.
+Rand Fishkin +Wil Reynolds, both for their passion and how they craft their preso in almost cinematic experience. +Will Critchlow is an amazing speaker. +Kate Morris surprised me at MozCon and +Joanna Lord is pure energy and probably the only one able to make me desire to do PPC ...
Right now I'm stoked to finally see my friend +Michael King speaking at Linklove later this month. People I'd love to see speaking... +Rhea Drysdale +John Doherty +Justin Briggs
Oh, by the way I am not bad too, if you have the Star Trek instant translator with you ;)
Going through my list of who I enjoyed at SMX West:
I love Addie Conner talking about FB ads and AdWords. She brings in a lot of great details and is a high-energy presenter.
+Carrie Gouldin from ThinkGeek I've heard is great. I haven't seen her speak, but have heard great things about her speaking.
+Tami Dalley, Merry Morud, +Monique Pouget, and +Courtney Seiter were on the ANalytics for Social Media panel at SMX and all gave fantastic presentations.
+Everett Sizemore gave some great information at the ecommerce panel.
+Duane Forrester will actually tell you information about Bing!
Having seen many of those mentioned above, a common thread I see is that their presentations and data change from year to year. They speak in 1st person about success. And they look happy to be there. --- All attributes I love.
AJ Kohn
Many thanks +Marty Weintraub. Right back at you.

I'd second (or third) +Michael King, he's informative and a showman. (Sort of like Marty)

I think +Adam Audette is just wicked smart and gets across a ton of great stuff in short amount of time.

He probably won't come to these events anymore but +Todd Nemet can make you laugh while baffling you with his technical skills.

I don't see +Rhea Drysdale on this list yet but she's smart in that no-nonsense way that is needed in SEO.

I haven't seen +Wil Reynolds or +John Doherty speak but I'd like to.

Of course, +Rand Fishkin and +Danny Sullivan are the gold standard and that guy +Matt Cutts seems to have an idea or two worth listening to.

Finally, I've seen +Greg Sterling moderate but never present and that's a shame because he's a treasure of information.

Apologies to anyone I missed. [Edit] I did miss some others. +Dan Shure +Bill Slawski +Jonathon Colman +Conrad Saam and +Jared Spool
Wow! Thanks for all the great responses everyone. :) Keep 'em coming!
This is such an awesome list, cannot wait to check out all of these incredible presenters! Thanks for the mention +Lisa Barone and +Keri Morgret. In terms of my favorites, I have consistently been inspired by the energy that +Michael King and +Wil Reynolds bring to their presentations. Ooooh, and +Avinash Kaushik was amazing at last year's MozCon. Can't forget +Rand Fishkin either, he is always raising the bar through his passion and knowledge about the industry. There are way too many good ones to list!!!
David Booth from Cardinal Path was awesome at Google Engage!
I'm going to toss on the pile for Jonathon Colman - righteous SEO right there! Truly, though, this list could be endless. I see so many speakers, and amazingly, so many are awesome. You'd expect a fairly high failure rate, but I can actually only ever recall one instance in 13+ years in this industry where I felt I wanted to just walk out of a preso...and that was more to programming a 101 speaker in an adavnced session, than because of the speaker herself. Thanks to Thomas Hogenhaven for including me in the list, too. :)

I'll toss one out you probably haven't heard of: Jelena Woehr from Yahoo's content network.
Not even close for me - Tom Peters. No one has impacted me like he did. One of my favorite quotes (paraphrased) "I could have done great things if only my boss had let me". 
I must say that this thread has greatly helped me expand the folks I'm following in Google Plus.

I'm curious if anyone has their circles organized enough to share out who they follow?
OMG, thanks for the mention +Lisa Barone. :) Have to say +Marty Weintraub is pretty killer and +Matt Siltala is no slouch either. Lots of these people I have not heard yet since I'm still pretty new to the industry. Great list to keep an eye out for!
Woah, thanks for the mentions +Jonathon Colman and +Phil Sharp!!

Do I get an award for being an SEO people want to see speak at a conference... who's (ready?) never actually spoken at a conference? (Yet. I will be in a sponsored session at SES NY. And more TBD for sure!).
That +Mike Pantoliano has been speaking at several events recently (search fest, ses, seattle interactive) and has been doing well. I'd like to see him at MozCon.
Homer Simpson: "Attention ladies and gentlemen: If I could just say a few words....I'd be a better public speaker"
Only been to one conference (that will soon change this year), but from all the conference videos I've seen, +Wil Reynolds takes the cake.
Google+ mobile sucks... to say again: I'm less about "speaking charm" and more about what they actually KNOW. So my choices would be +Kenny Hyder (the guy no one talks about and everyone doesn't know they fear) +michael gray (huge technical background) +Derek Halpern (amazing on email marketing, fucking amazing) +Aaron Chronister (wicked tech smart) - I'm sure there are others, but most would be off the typical radar. I'm more interested in knowledge from people who actually DO what we do, not just write about it or self promote their "knowledge" of it.
Heard Spike Jones (no, not that guy - this guy: at LessConf this year. He was really good, both in content and delivery. Wicked interesting PR/Marketing stuff
I rather enjoy listening to +Douglas Karr, +Ric Dragon and +Jason Falls. If you are looking for as yet unrecognized names, those most here have never heard of,..respectfully that'd be someone like myself. ;)
Thanks +Matthew Brown for the shout out.
I would say, if you can get +Branko Rihtman to take a plane and come speak more often in the US, that's awesome. Furthermore, there are others that would blow your mind, like +Cameron Olthuis, saw him speak at BlueGlass in Frt Lauderdale, always good!

There are a few more I would mention, but not sure if they would step out of the shadow light and speak in more public settings.
+Dharmesh Shah you're right! I intentionally didn't ask about Marketing speakers as I wanted to see who people would come up with :)
Holy wow! Thanks everyone for the amazing response to my question. Looks like we have some great speakers out there, and as +Jonathon Colman mentioned, a great list of people to circle on Google+.
Marty Weintraub always brings the awesome. Michael Summers preso at the Yahoo Merchant Summit (about conversion optimization) last year was incredible.
Richard John Jenkins and Rand Fishkin
Aaron Wall and Danny Sullivan!
+Aaron Wall and +Danny Sullivan!
Personal favourites: +Wil Reynolds for his energy and the good stuff he brings to each presentation, +Richard Baxter for the inspiration to up my Excel game, +David Naylor when he is on a panel/in his element on a Q&A. In the up and comers category I'd rank +David Sottimano quite highly as he busts his hump to bring new material and build his own tools to give away. Oh and on the foreign language (Spanish) front +Jorge Fernandez from Publigroup is as hilarious as he is insightful.

And I certainly enjoy a good +Will Critchlow +Rand Fishkin showdown for the pure entertainment and to see just how competitive they are.
xxx yyy
Textbook 101 example of why social media is exactly the same as a high school popularity contest. If you don't think that there is a "popular kids" table in the "SEO Lunchroom" you really aren't paying attention.

The real question is are you using that popularity to make money ... because you can't pay the rent with a wallet full of famous, and a pocket full of popularity. #threadjacking
If you want a brilliant speaker, who can turn analytics (a boring and complex aspect of online marketing), into a standing 10 minute ovation, then +Avinash Kaushik is the speaker you're looking for. His session on MozCon 2011 was brilliant. +Wil Reynolds is another one to have for sure, and I'd like to see +Michael King jump on stage for a preso (and maybe even a small rap warm up session).
gotta say, makes me feel like a little bit of a proud mama having seen some of these names come up through the SEW / SES & SEL / SMX ranks over the years:)

+Keri Morgret agreed, +Carrie Gouldin killed it as a speaker last week, and before that, how many in the usual 'search & social' circles had heard of her? (yes, they may have known about ThinkGeek, but who knew who was behind the curtain & what their challenges/successes/failures were?)

It's a perfect example of getting outside our little SEO bubble and cool kids table as +Michael Gray put it, to seek new voices & stories to share, in order to see some really exciting tactics actually being put into practice by real-world brands connecting with their customers. There are some really smart people leading these strategies, we can all benefit from their success & failures, not just the words of yet another agency rep. (but a nice balance of agency/brands means everyone wins).

This is not to say that there aren't plenty of of good, quality speakers on the SEO circuit - we know who they are - and yes, it's great for them to share the gospel again & again, but it's also good to keep in check the potential for overexposure / repetition, and for that reason, it's always great to see new voices get a chance to be heard more. (not to diverge too much, but a common downfall is also often seen speakers relying so much on their past speaking experience/a sense of entitlement - that they're not delivering anything new of value)

Also agree that +Dennis Goedegebuure is under the radar somewhat -but he's a good example of the reverse / stepping out of the bubble - he talks to different audiences outside of national search events - he's been to Utah for EvoConf before & will be here again in April for another non-search event, as well as speaking to the local #SLCSEM crowd.

Speaking of +Mitch Monsen - I also think the best way for you and others who aspire to be up-and-coming speakers is to get involved at smaller/niche/local events and start building up your expertise & skills, as well as overall exposure as a speaker - which leads to more speaking gigs, which helps you craft your message & better resonate with different audiences.
So +michael gray the question still stands, who is the best speaker you've seen or is an "up-and-comer" that many of us don't know about? I'm not asking who makes the most money from speaking, but who brings knowledge to the table. I want to learn about people who teach what they know and do it in a way that makes you say "WHOA!!" I'd love to hear your suggestions.
+elisabeth osmeloski I'm so flattered with all the positive feedback for my +ThinkGeek Twitter talk! I tried to present stuff that someone from the nitty gritty side of things--like myself--could use, and I think unfortunately that is sometimes missing at conferences. (That could be because brands don't want to go out on a limb, of course, but at TG we're all about transparency.) Geeks <3 data after all. Speaking of data, I really enjoyed Addie Conner's presentation, and speaking of geeks, +Keri Morgret is awesome.
Hi +Chris Countey this really was just an informal poll to hear from the community about who their favorite speakers were. We might do that in the future though. Thanks!
+Chris Countey right? :) We're excited so many people responded. Great to see the community on G+ :)
+Bart Miller great presentation on social media, really up to date stuff like pinterest and youtube marketing.
My favorite speaker of all time would have to be Wes Harrison! He does a coaching program now that I happen to be a part of. He is SO passionate about what he teaches that he has actually given 8 hour webinars before (literally not figuratively). He's very energetic and a very sincere and honest man.
Maybe a little biased as he used to be my boss, but +Neil Walker is not only a great mentor, but also one of the most passionate speakers I have seen speak. He has the ability to captivate the audience, but is delivering his methods and backing it up with data. Also if you have never seen it, Neil also 'rapped' up SAScon in Manchester with this
+Wil Reynolds no b*tching attitude in his presentation and public speaking in undeniably amazing. How many times could an employee or company be great by just putting forth hardwork. +Greg Boser was unreal at PubCon 2011 Las Vegas. It was my first time listening to any of his presentations and it was a must to attend several of his presentations. His experience seems unmatched and the information I learned from him alone on SEO and Digital Marketing justified attending PubCon.
+Wil Reynolds Saw him speak at MozCon on linkbuilding, fantastic session. He presents his information and data in an engaging manner while bringing in real world examples that he has struggled with personally. I like that he's real and says it how it is, no fluff, no magic beans.
One of my favorites is Bart Miller. Very direct and awesome presentation!
xxx yyy
ok +SEOmoz to answer your question I'm going to quote Jackie the transvestite hooker from Risky Business "When you buy a TV, you don't buy a Sony when you want RCA"

Being a good or interesting speaker has nothing to do being effective, you can be one and not the other, and some people can be both good speakers and know what they are talking about. Personally I want to see people who are out there on the edge trying new things, unexpected things, things that are on the "X things not to do on (fill in the blank network/website)". I'd love to hear success stories of things, things that worked, things that worked better than expected, things that were great surprises and hugely beneficial and made tons of money or generated lots of leads. But I'd also like to hear about things that failed, things that sounded amazing on paper but fell apart. I'd love to hear why they thought they fell apart, was it execution, did they get blindsided by something, what were the things or things that contributed to the train going off the rails.

I can get up on stage and tell you if you do {Plan A} you will get 10,000 new followers on twitter, but if I don't give your the experience and knowledge of how I got to Plan A, you won't have learned anything other than how to copy me. When the time comes plan A doesn't work anymore because twitter changed something or you want to use it on Facebook or Google+ you won't be able to apply the knowledge you don't have to solving a new and different problem.

I want to hear from speakers who aren't afraid of being politically incorrect or offending people. At one of my presentations in Pubcon Hawaii an audience member asked me about a certain tactic, I told it will probably work, but as regular user it makes me want to kick them in the shins ... hard ... because it's such a bad usability practice. Not every audience member is ready for that level of brutal honesty.

What I want from a speaker may not be the same as what someone who is part of an in-house SEO team working for very conservative company wants to hear. Personally I think they should want to learn about the edgy tactics and how to dial them back and make them useful for them. However I've gotten bad speaker evaluations back where people complained about that "black hat" tactics I talked about.

The problem is of course it's usually a popularity contest, a seniority based decision or a case of nepotism, instead of a system where the speaker is chosen for their ability to be interesting, insightful, motivational and actionable.
Hey +michael gray I completely agree that it's essentially to hear directly from people who do the actual work. I complain about that at conferences and such all the time. But it's sometimes hard to find those people. It's difficult to know who's doing what exactly. I mean I had no idea of the person behind the +ThinkGeek account was +Carrie Gouldin until I saw her at #smxwest2012 .

I also agree that it usually turns into a huge popularity contest, and that often happens based on a person's ability to present and tell a story, and not necessarily on how much they actually do. But then the question comes up that some people who do the work hands-on are horrible at explaining what they do. So even if someone is awesome at their job, but can't speak to a room of 200 people and explain it in a way that makes people understand and get takeaways, then should they even be speaking?

I still don't think you answered the question though. Who (not what) do you want to see speak? Maybe it's the "SEO at XYZ company" or the "Social person who manages XYZ account" and not even a particular person. But WHO do you want to see speak that would make you say "HOT DAMN!" Or is there someone you've seen who did make you think that?

So... it all boils down to this: I agree with you. Now, tell me who. ;)
What +michael gray said. But I'd add this - all the talk about "this person has to know and be able to present..." is somewhat circular. Because you never know until you give someone the chance to present, how effective he/she will be. Sometimes you have to take a chance on an unknown. which is precisely what we did with +Carrie Gouldin I knew from Twitter and other social channels that ThinkGeek knows what they are doing and are extremely effective. I found out who was behind that curtain, and invited her to pitch to speak. She pitched great data, and was selected for the panel. Our pitch system (vs. a hand selecting of gurus process that other shows prefer) uncovered a diamond that no one in this community even knew existed. And she knocked it out of the park for our attendees. I'd never seen her speak before, had no idea how she would present, but knew she had good data and experience to share. So if fantastic ability to present, and experience presenting is a prerequisite, think of all the diamonds that will remain hidden. I'll also add that in the 13 years I've been attending these kinds of conferences, I've seen a lot of great speakers, with huge personalities, but very little actionable information for attendees. I'll take boring but informative over that any day. #substanceoverstyle
Thanks for the recommendation, +Laura Lippay! There are a ton of great names already up there, but I'd add Tim Ash as a very engaging speaker who has lots of practical advice. +Matt Cutts has a low key approach and always brings humor, warmth, and (mostly) good info.
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