The PSA Christmas Party – 18th December 2020!

Christmas is coming

Santa’s getting fat

Join us at our party

And wear your favourite hat!

We know how much members of the PSA love getting together, so this year we’re treating you to a very special Christmas Party on Friday 18 December!

Where? On Zoom of course, from the comfort of your own *office/sofa/kitchen table/sleigh (*delete as applicable.)

What? An evening of fun, frolics and festivities, as well as a chance to catch up with PSA buddies and meet some new ones.

How much? Only £10 for the whole evening, with ALL proceeds going to the PSA Foundation, which is there to support you. Can’t afford a ticket or a posh frock? Let us know and we’ll see if Santa can send you an early Christmas present in the form of a discount.

Why? Well, because!!

Book your ticket here and now! Only £10 +VAT!

Here’s the rough plan for the evening (subject to change, depending on what the Elves decide to arrange for you.)

First up at 6pm – Lee Warren’s Speaking Stocking-Fillers. It’s time to get into the Christmas Spirit (literally) by joining Lee Warren and Steve Bustin in conversation, over an online gin and tonic, giving you loads of ideas for your ’Speaker’s Christmas Stocking’. They’ll be discussing what’s changed – for better and worse – for speakers throughout 2020. And what we can look forward to in 2021, including understanding how to embrace technology without being a slave to it, new ways of preparing keynotes and workshops in a ‘virtual environment’, what really ‘works’ online, what bookers will be looking for in the New Year, and ways of creating, and maintaining client relationships during turbulent times. Expect gossip, laughter and plenty of non-obvious ideas you can use straight away.

Then at 7pm bring along your takeaway or Christmas dinner and a glass of bubbles. Eat, chat, network, pull crackers, be crackers …

At 8pm the Fringe is back! There are three great presents for you to choose from:

Deborah Henley will ask What’s in Santa’s Stocking? It’s full of all kinds of lumps and bumps but as we pull out each one, we discover what’s really hidden within its red and woolly folds. In this case, some great yarns and extraordinary tales. This is a fun impromptu speaking event to hear about the stuff that other people keep around them in their own space when on a virtual call. Brought to you by the creator of QuizTag, Deborah’s disclaimer says that rules may or may not be comprehensible on the day!

Cathy Towers invites you to Free Your Funny Bone in Time for Christmas. She’s going to share the stage with all of you – so long as you are willing to play! She likes to say yes, and… see what happens. She invites you to do the same in this improve session. Cathy has run improv sessions for a dating agency, a birthday party and the PSA Summit. Are you ready to join in and have fun tonight?

Join Pam Burrows in the spa for some seriously powerful battery re-charging! The most common feedback this session gets is “afterwards I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time”. If you’re frazzled and in need of some pampering, this is for you. You can just turn up but to get full benefit from this, be in a peaceful, comfortable place, have a bowl of bubble bath for your feet, a towel, some body lotion, maybe even light a candle! Pam will show you how to give yourself a foot spa, some self-reflexology, a self-massage, some stress reducing breathing techniques and a Maldives beach experience!

Then at 9pm the bar is open with Scott Johnson, or put on your dancing shoes and head for the disco with Lee Jackson. Finally, toddle off to bed, hang up your stockings and see what Santa brings you!

Tickets are just £10 +VAT for PSA members. If you’re not yet a member, sign up as an Associate Member NOW (on the PSA website) and then we’ll let you in. 

If you have any questions about the event, please get in touch with the Elves at PSA HQ, by emailing [email protected].

Book your place now and come and join us!

We look forward to seeing you online on 18 December 2020. Christmas jumpers/fancy dress are optional!!

Six Days That Shook the World of Speaking

October saw the first virtual event from the PSA in the shape of the Speaking Business Summit. Guy Clapperton attended by wandering into his spare room, remembering to put trousers on most of the time and wrote:

It was the best of times, it was the best of times…

October 2019: Steve Bustin became National President of the PSA and like all people of the same title, the peak of his year was to come at the end of 12 months with a three-day conference. Retitled the Speaking Business Summit it would take place in Warwick University and it would draw together friends old and new.

Then 2020 happened. Covid-19 meant we couldn’t meet in person so we did the next best thing and Steve and his team put on some of the best content and networking facilities I’ve seen.

Everyone will have gathered something different depending on which parts they attended (there was no compulsion to go to it all) and what you were looking for. It would be wrong to single anyone out just because I thought they were great – suffice it to say that after a couple of decades of speaking I picked up plenty of tips on sales and productivity while others will have looked towards the wellness sections and just about everyone should watch the panel with the bookers; on the lighter fringe activities I also enjoyed playing (AND WINNING AND NO I AM NOT GOING TO FORGET) the silliest quiz in the universe while others learned to juggle, did some disco dancing, mastered photography on their phones or just networked.

The networking was a highlight for many, some of the informal feedback suggests. The platform, Hopin, allowed for ‘speed networking’ sessions in which you just told it you were available and it hooked you up with a random fellow member. Speaking personally I’ve been reunited with people I hadn’t seen for a while, made several new friendly connections and actually ended up quite frustrated that these sessions could only last five minutes – there is plenty to follow up!

Some people spent entire afternoons enjoying the camaraderie of colleagues in this way. This and the sheer quality of the speakers meant that the early part of the week ended up not as the curtain-raising warm-up that many had envisaged but as a central part of the Summit.

It went spectacularly well. The technology held up the vast majority of the time but more importantly the people were terrific. We actually ended up having our longest convention (six days!) and also our biggest in terms of ticket sold, and the expert speakers delivered. This was all due to the dedication of the small team who were unaware they would need to do much of this only a matter of months before and of course due to the superb choice of speakers. It would be invidious to single anyone out for praise but I will mention that Sara Beth, Hazel, Steve, Rebecca and Nathan were slogging their guts out behind the scenes offering impromptu support to members struggling with access; the fact that most people won’t have noticed is a tribute to their efforts.

Also a big thanks for all the donators and bidders who contributed to the foundation auction. We raised over £7000 due to your generosity.

Nobody can know what’s coming next year. But for the moment it’s clear that whatever the circumstances, the PSA will adapt spectacularly!

Written by Guy Clapperton – Regions Director 2020 – 2021 and Editor of Backstage Newsletter

A Warm Welcome from ‘Somewhere Near the Middle’

Some confusing geography from East Midlands Regional President, Pam Burrows

“Where actually IS the East Midlands?!” ask people from the north, south and the west!

Well, bearing in mind our East Midlands airport is called ‘Nottingham Airport’ when it’s actually in Derbyshire and on the cusp of Leicestershire, you’re forgiven for being confused!

Then there’s Robin Hood. The one thing people know about this fine area is that Robin Hood came from Nottingham. 

Except he didn’t; his arch enemy the Sheriff was the Nottingham resident, while Robin and his merry men were busy frequenting the forests of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire. 

So where on earth are we?

That brings me to the Professional Speaking Association’s East Midlands Region. Our members travel from as far south as Northampton and Peterborough and pop down from Sheffield, as well as the standard Derby, Leicester and Nottingham East Midlanders.

Of course, we’re meeting online at time of writing, and that’s meant we also gather interested parties from even further afield. We meet to hear keynote talks, showcase talks and get stuck into fun and valuable discussions too.

At EM PSA we set out to make sure our sessions are mostly interactive and directly relevant to our speaking and our businesses. Our focus is ‘Growth’, so there’s often useful content that we can directly apply.

There’s always cake (yes, even when online!) and always a warm welcome to everyone who comes along. Guest speakers are awarded the Golden EMPSA (which looks uncannily like a cheap Oscar rip-off.)

We’re known for being a friendly region, and the baby of the family, being the latest of 13 UK and Ireland groups. We launched in December 2018. Our founder, PSA Fellow Adam Harris, is so well known for making things happen (but not necessarily in the most conventional way), that when he and his family emigrated to New Zealand, we launched a regional award in his honour. The Adam Harris JFDI Award is for anyone taking a brave foot forward without having all their T’s crossed!

If you’re thinking of making us your regional home, or just popping in for a meeting or two, be assured you’ll be welcomed as one of our mixed, fabulous and slightly bonkers, family! 

Making everyone feel a part of things is one of our core values. After all, if people don’t even know where we are, we should at least be nice to them when they turn up!