President’s Message

Our Future in Speaking: Delivering and Expanding on the Promise

Global Connection – Global Knowledge – Global Certification

paul ter walFor 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.” I have some ideas on how we can provide more support, more significance, and more value to member associations, association leaders and contributors /volunteers. As GSF we work on a global scale and with now sixteen member associations and about six speaking associations in the pipe-line, we are becoming more and more global.

It is estimated that there are approximately 54,000 speakers in the world; speakers who work as professionals and speakers who speak on behalf of their companies or organisations. We influence about 1 billion people with our talks every year. This gives us as speakers but also as associations a big responsibility. What do we say, how do we say it and how can our audience “hear” it; what’s the impact of what we are saying.

As a Paul Harris Fellow (an honorary title of Rotary International), I always remember “The 4-Way Test” of Rotary:


I, as a person and speaker, try to speak and live from these four rules; is it possible to do this all the time? Well, at least I try to do so. This has also to do with the ethical rules that we as Global Speakers Federation, associations and of course, individual members, try to keep up to.

For me, it’s important that we, as speakers, use the spoken word as a contribution to mankind and to all it may concern. It would be great if we can use this standard as well in the written words, on social media and elsewhere.

We have a big obligation as professional speakers, to each other, to our friends, colleagues and our audiences to speak according to our ethical standards and for us, these standards may be a little bit higher than for others.

I hope you will help us to be aware of our responsibility as professional speakers in our businesses and in our lives.

At the beginning of a new and exciting year for me, all of you and all the speakers in the world, I’m asking you to support our GSF Presidential Leadership Team in finding the answers to these questions.

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



Paul ter Wal
2019 – 2020 President of the Global Speakers Federation