A Statement from The PSA

Dear all

The news agenda over the last couple of weeks has been led by the anger and revulsion felt over the death of George Floyd in the US and the ensuing discussion and protests over the ongoing issue of racism not just in America but around the world. Racism is a blight on our society and we condemn it and the inequalities it causes, and we should all be looking to ensure we don’t further it, consciously or unconsciously. We know that the events of the last fortnight have caused great hurt to many of our members and we want to acknowledge that and let them know that we stand with them. 

The Board have been discussing and reflecting on what has been said and done over the last few days and wanted to restate our commitment to ensuring the PSA is an organisation that celebrates diversity and inclusion in all its forms. We want to make sure everyone is welcome in the PSA and at PSA events, everyone is listened to (as an individual member, as well as from the stage) and that everyone is celebrated for who they are. 

Our diversity makes us stronger as an organisation and we can all learn from each other about our different life experiences – and by doing so understand the different backgrounds and life experiences present in our audiences and reflect those in our content. Many of our members talk about their lives and backgrounds from the stage whereas for others it is incidental to what they speak about and the way they run their business – but is still an important part of who they are as an individual and should be celebrated as such.

While the PSA is a diverse organisation, our membership and their voices do not – yet – represent the diversity of our society here in the UK and we have work to do to rectify that. Our Finance Director, Shaz Nawaz, has been heading a working group over the last few months, looking at all forms of diversity and inclusion within the PSA. The group is made up of representatives from a cross section of our diverse community – and those who do not identify as belonging to any of those communities but who have an interest or experience in the issues under discussion. The group are currently looking at a range of issues from our recruitment of members to the language and imagery we use and the speakers who appear on our stages and screens. 

We feel diversity is an important part of who we are an organisation. We want to assure you we will do everything we can, with your support, to ensure our organisation represents and reflects our diverse community.

The group will be making recommendations to the Board and at that point we will come back to the membership with positive and affirmative actions we can all take as individuals and as an organisation to ensure that diversity, inclusion and celebrating difference is at the heart of what we all do. 

Stay safe, stay well and if you’re struggling, please do reach out to your PSA family – we really are stronger together.


Steve Bustin, National President

Shaz Nawaz, Finance Director and Board lead on Diversity and Inclusion

On behalf of the PSA Board

Important & exciting announcement about The Speaking Business Summit

I’ve had a number of people ask me recently about our plans for The Speaking Business Summit in October, in light of the on-going guidance around social distancing, group gatherings etc. To start to answer (some of) your questions, I’ve recorded the following video (sat in my garden for a change!).
We know you will probably have lots of questions and we’ll endeavour to answer as many as possible as quickly as possible, probably in another video in a week or two. If you need to speak with us earlier, please contact the office [email protected] .

I hope you’re as excited by the opportunities this offers as I am.

Steve Bustin National President


Our newsletter editor Guy Clapperton – who has been a worker from home since going freelance in 1993 – offers some insight into how to survive the stay-indoors regime.

The first piece of advice he normally gives new home workers is not to stay at home the whole time. Have meetings, see people, stay sociable and at the moment you might as well come out with a cliché about teaching pigs to fly.

We are stuck indoors.

So the first thing to do is to plan your routine. Doing things reactively and “kind of as they crop up” isn’t actually the answer to anything. But starting off with some exercise and preferably getting out of doors where possible, maybe scheduling when you deal with email and other correspondence, will all introduce some structure into your day. I prefer to keep weekends as weekends; others may feel differently but it helps to make a decision rather than drift into a habit.

You’ll see loads of advice on getting the right chair and not working at the kitchen table. Right now we’re not in a position to go and check any alternative furniture and anyway, buying a new desk set-up for what will hopefully be a few weeks only is unlikely to be sustainable. It’s going to be a case of common sense in my view; if you catch yourself looking down at a laptop too often you’ll get a stiff neck so look up from time to time, or better still get an external keyboard and mouse and put the laptop on some books. Your eyes should be level with the top of the screen, which will also help you with video conferencing.

Next, stay in touch with people. Steve Bustin has put together a weekly meeting for members and it’s terrific. Attending virtual book group meetings and other gatherings can be fun – they just take a little getting used to!

One final point: dig deep and think about times you might have delivered your service over the phone or over video conference. If you’ve done so, it can be worth contacting the client again and seeing whether they’ll give you a testimonial. Ask them to say when they used you as a virtual speaker or workshop runner/trainer. We see many people online saying they are “pivoting” to the online world; a testimonial saying you’re used to delivering in this way and have been doing so for a while will be much more reassuring for your prospects!

Good luck and stay safe – and remember this isn’t forever!

Guy Clapperton

Editor, Backstage