The annual PSA competition for emerging speakers

Speaker Factor

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 (apart from the virtual 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 four 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.

Entry Criteria

  • The contest is only open to those who have been a fully paid-up Associate Member by the 1st of May in the competition year and attended at least two regional PSA events as a member, up to but not including the Speaker Factor Regional heat event
  • Contestants may only compete once, in their chosen region, where they have attended their qualifying events
  • Contestants may compete (once) at any point while an Associate (i.e., they do not have to compete in their first year of associate membership), but may not compete once they are Professional Members
  • Contestants 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.

Talk Requirements

  • Contestants will be required to present a 5-minute talk this talk will be timed and they cannot exceed their time limit. Slides may not be used, but props are allowed.
  • The talk must be entirely the contestant’s own work
  • Each contestant should provide an introduction of no more than 30 words. This is to include, the title of the talk, their name and region as well as the target audience
  • Regional winners must give the same talk in the National Semi-Finals and Finals as they gave in the Regional heats.

Entry Procedures

  • To enter, individuals will need to inform their Regional President and then complete the entry form on the PSA Website – date to be advised for 2024
  • The Regional President will liaise with head office to ensure each individual qualifies to enter the competition
  • Contestants 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, only exceptional circumstances such as ill health or bereavement will be accepted for failure to attend the heats. If they do not attend their heat, they cannot enter any subsequent Speaker Factor contest in the future.


  • Entries close – date TBC
  • Regions will run their Speaker Factor heats in July or August
  • The National Semi-Finals and Finals take place on the first day of the Annual Convention held in October each year.

Competition Timing

  • Each contestant should speak for exactly 5 minutes with an allowance 15 seconds. If this is exceeded the contestant will not be eligible for the next round, or if it is the final they will be disqualified
  • These rules will be made very clear at the beginning of each stage of the competition so judges, contestants and the audience are all aware
  • A timer will be visible to all contestants at every stage of the competition from the Regional Heats to the Finals. All timings will be recorded by a dedicated timekeeper
  • Timing starts from the contestant’s first word and ends on the last word of their talk
  • In the unlikely event of all candidates overrunning, the candidate(s) with the shortest overrun should be selected to go forward to the next stage.

Judging Criteria

The judges will look for overall quality of the presentation. They will judge the entrants on five main criteria, weighted as indicated:

  • Engagement – how well the entrant engages with the audience (10%)
  • Stagecraft – how well the entrant uses the platform and props (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? (30%). 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 and two other judges. All judges should be Fellows of the PSA, or if three Fellows are not available, one or more may be Professional Members of longstanding membership. These judges will be appointed by the Regional President. No judge at the regional heats may judge another heat
  • The National Semi-Finals and Finals will be judged by the same judges and will be appointed by the Speaker Factor Coordinator in association with the PSA President and Director of Regions. These judges will be selected before any of the regional heats which these judges will not be able to attend.

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 the event
  • In the National Semi-Finals, five winners will be announced later in the day of the National Semi-Finals. The four winners 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
  • Contestants 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.


  • 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
  • Contestants may contact the judges after the event for more specific feedback if required
  • At the National Semi-Finals, no feedback will be provided but once the convention is over, contestants may request specific feedback from the 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 the Speaker Factor Coordinator.
Entries now open!

Speaker Factor Application Form 2023