Speaker Factor is the PSA competition for emerging speakers and is an annual contest for Associate Members, with regional heats taking place across the Summer and semi-finals and finals taking place during the Annual Convention in October. Each region puts forward their heat winner to represent them. Each Regional winner enters the National Semi-Finals at the Convention for a place in the National Finals at the same Convention. There are only five places in the National Finals.
The purposes of Speaker Factor:
- Discovering, encouraging and nurturing emerging speakers in the PSA and speaker community.
- Giving newer speakers visibility within the Association – a platform to show other members what they can do.
In 2020 The PSA adapted the criteria/rules to permit the competition to take place online.
The following changes were made to the rules for the competition to take place in 2020:-
1) Contestants must speak live, pre-recordings will not be accepted
2) Competitors will be allowed up to 2 slides. How they choose to use their slides is up to them, either behind them on a screen, as a virtual background or using a transition to screen share, but they don’t have to use any.
3) All 3 judges of the regional events should be Fellows and may only judge in one region
4) The judging criteria and percentages should remain the same – however, stage craft should now include the competitors use of slides (if they choose to use them), the transition between screen share and speaker view, whether their choice of standing or sitting works for their delivery
5) Bookability – the competitor is to inform the judges (and regional attendees) who their target audience will be, as this will affect whether the judges feel that the presentation is bookable by that specific target audience.
The rules regarding entry qualification, length of speech etc. remain unchanged
Arrangements for the finals at the annual conference will be confirmed at a later date.
- The contest is only open to those who have been a fully paid-up Associate Member for at least three months and attended at least two regional PSA events.
- Entrants may only compete once, in their ‘home’ region, where they have attended their qualifying events.
- Entrants may compete (once) at any point while an Associate (ie do not have to compete in their first year of associate membership), but may not compete once they are Professional Members.
- Entrants must be able to attend the Annual Convention; if they think they may be unable to attend for any reason, then they cannot enter a Regional Heat.
- Entrants will be required to present a 5-minute talk this talk will be timed and they cannot exceed their time limit.
- The talk must be entirely the entrant’s own work.
- Regional Winners must give the same talk in the National Semi-Finals and Finals as they gave in the Regional Heats.
- Individuals who wish to enter may do so in an appropriate Regional Heat once the date is announced by the Regional President.
- To enter, individuals will need to contact their Regional President to ask for their name to be added to the contest.
- The Regional President will check that the individual is permitted to enter.
- Entrants will be told that they can only enter the Regional Heat if they are going to be available to attend the Annual Convention.
- Once an individual has agreed to enter the Regional Heat they must attend the event, only exceptional circumstances such as ill health or bereavement will be accepted for failure to attend the Heats.
- If an individual does not attend the Regional Heat to which they agreed to take part, they cannot enter any subsequent Speaker Factor contest in the future.
- Regions run their Speaker Factor Heats between April and mid-September.
- The National Semi-Finals and Finals take place on the first day of the Annual Convention held in October each year.
The judges will look for overall quality of the presentation. They will judge the entrants on four main criteria, weighted as indicated:
- Stagecraft – how well the entrant uses the platform, props and so on (20%)
- Script – how well the talk was constructed and worded (20%)
- Delivery – how well the entrant delivered the talk, including vocal performance and body language (20%)
- Bookability – is the speaker likely to be booked, is their talk likely to be paid for? (40%). The ‘bookability’ of a speech is defined as being something the intended market would pay for, as discerned by the judges at the event.
- There will be three judges at Regional Heats and three judges at the National Semi-Finals and Finals.
- The judging panel will consist of:
- The Head Judge
- Two other judges who will be Fellows of the PSA, or if two Fellows are not available, one or more may be Professional Members of longstanding membership. These judges will be appointed by the Regional President.
- In the National Semi-Finals and Finals, the judges will be appointed by the PSA President or the Convention Organiser.
Announcement of Winners
- In the Regional Heats, the winner will be announced by the judges at a point in the event’s proceedings decided by the Regional President or the individual running that meeting.
- In the National Semi-Finals, five winners will be announced at the end of the session. Those five winner will move on to take part in the National Finals, usually the day after the National Semi-Finals
- In the National Finals, the winner will be announced during the Gala Dinner.
- In each of the Regional Heats, the judges will also decide upon a Runner-up. This individual will be able to enter the National Final in the event that exceptional circumstances prevent the Regional Winner from attending.
- The prize for winning a Regional Heat is a place in the National Semi-Finals.
- Entrants in the National Semi-Finals will each receive a certificate indicating their participation.
- The winner of the Speaker Factor contest will receive a framed certificate indicating they are that year’s winner. In addition, they will receive publicity for their win via the PSA website and email system. They may also indicate they are the ‘PSA Speaker Factor Emerging Speaker of the Year’ in their own promotional materials. The winner also gets a guaranteed speaking slot on the main stage at the following year’s Convention. The winner also receives a free place at a PSA Bootcamp.
- In the Regional Heats, feedback will be provided at the end of the contest after the winner has been announced by the judges. Detailed and specific feedback will not be provided, although the head judge may outline why the winning speech won, highlighting elements that other speakers could learn from, especially around bookability.
- Entrants may contact the judges after the event for more specific feedback if required.
- At the National Semi-Finals, general feedback will be given by all of the judges immediately after all of the entrants have finished their talks. No feedback on individual performance will be provided at that time because the winner will not have been announced. After the convention is over, entrants may request specific feedback from the Chair of Judges.
- The Regional Heats will normally be hosted by the Regional President who will act as Master of Ceremonies and ensure timekeeping.
- The National Semi-Finals and Finals will be hosted by a Master of Ceremonies appointed by the President of the PSA or the Conference Organiser.