President’s Message

Our Future in Speaking: Delivering and Expanding on the Promise

Global Connection – Global Knowledge – Global Certification

For the year 2019 – 2020 I’ve chosen this theme as President of the GSF. The reason is that there are questions about the value of an organization as the GSF for the individual member-associations and their members. In my inauguration speech (which you can download here) I started the discussion on this theme by stating the words of Cavett Robert: “Let’s make the pie bigger.” 

Now, due to the biological (COVID-19) and the economic crisis, we see that there is more collaboration between associations, individual speakers and in separate groups, like on Facebook. Online sessions (some call them remote or virtual) are much more popular than before COVID-19. There are associations that open their virtual meetings to all speakers, members of a GSF-association. And that’s great to see; that’s the added value we are all looking for.

Some speakers are way ahead of the rest with creating and delivering online programs and are really helping and supporting others to start too in this for some new market. It will be difficult for some of us to invest in this new approach, because for many of us business, as we knew it, just stopped. I hope you can survive this crisis financially. Stay connected to your speaker friends and your association and be transparent on what is happening to you; help may be on its way.

Now, most of us are concentrating on how to deliver our added value in the “new normal” whatever that will be. So, this is also a great opportunity for us all; we need to focus on getting paid as well for our material. I notice that some bureaus ask for a discount “because of the special situation”. I hear even from speakers that they increase their prices because of the special situation. It is an interesting period of time.

eSpeakers is working together with MPI and others to create a certificate that describes how well organized we are as online presenters.  It will identify speakers who can present remotely using a live video tool like Zoom or Webex. Another interesting new development; of course the GSF will be connected to this initiative and communicate with the association on this.

In the first months of my Presidency I traveled to several conventions; NSA, GSA, PSA UKI and CAPS in 2019; Plan B (Swakopmund; replacement of GSS2020) and PSA (Australia) in 2020. I almost got stuck in Adelaide, because during the PSA-convention the lockdown started in Europe.

I could leave Brisbane on time; arriving in Amsterdam gave me an insight into a totally new world. From a (there) still normal life to a complete lockdown. I needed as well some time to adjust to the new reality.

PSA Spain (not a member yet) transformed their convention in April into an online Roundtable-meeting. APSS postponed their convention (now August 2020) and AFCP had to cancel their convention. I hope that NSA Influence will be the next convention to visit; we will see in time.

So far it has been an interesting year for me; first to see how associations are serving their members in many ways, like chapter meetings and conventions, and now how we as a speaker market are servicing the whole speaker world, as mentioned above.

Beginning of May, there will be an online meeting of the Presidents of the associations to discuss how we can support the speaking industry in the coming period. If you have any ideas that can benefit us, please let me know. I would love to discuss your ideas with you.

Let’s work together and create Our Future in Speaking.

For now, I wish you and your loved one’s good health and good business. Stay well and stay safe.

Hope to meet soon,


Paul ter Wal, LL.M CSP FPSA
2019 – 2020 President of the Global Speakers Federation