Speaker Training Workshop


The Diverse Speaker Workshop (#WPDiversity) is designed for WordPress meetups and WordCamps to increase how many people from underrepresented groups apply to give a talk.

This lesson plan is a written summary of the contents provided as 5-part video lectures and other assets. Topics include

  • Finding a talk topic
  • Writing a pitch
  • Creating the talk
  • Becoming a better speaker
  • Creating great slides
  • Handling tough questions
  • And more

Read more and request training to learn to facilitate it for your WordPress meetup or WordCamp in the WordPress Handbook.


After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand why they should speak at WordPress events
  • Dispel some myths about speakers/speaking
  • Come up with topics and chose one
  • Write a meetup description or conference pitch
  • Write their bio and the talk outline
  • Learn how to create great slides
  • Practice giving a short talk in front of a group

Target Audience

The primary target audience is those from marginalized or underrepresented groups and thinking about speaking at WordPress events. You do not need to have any speaking experience to participate.

Screening Questions 

  1. Have you spoken at a WordPress event?
  2. Do you feel comfortable writing a talk pitch, title, and outline?
  3. Are you familiar with key components for building great slides?


  1. Training Script
  2. Slides
  3. Suggested Training Timeline
  4. Videos: Part 1, 2, 3, 4 (helpful though not required to view before presenting it yourself)

Materials needed

  • A large device that can show a countdown timer for the timed speaking presentations, such as an iPad. If you have a projector, you could project e.ggtimer instead.
  • Signup sheet (to be used at the end), clipboard, pen

Teacher Notes

  • Feel free to change any of the workshop in any way. If you are wondering if you can do something differently, the answer is yes. Do it!
  • You don’t have to use the whole thing. You could run any part. If you only have 1 to 1.5 hours, it is suggested to do parts 1 and 2 plus the signup at the end. These cover helping everyone feel safe and comfortable, Impostor Syndrome, and choosing a topic.
  • Times in the Suggested Schedule are approximate.
  • If it’s a small group (15 or less), arrange seats in a circle. If it’s a larger group, set up small groups of 4 to 5 each.
  • In both scenarios, you will be splitting into small groups of 4 to 5 each starting in the ‘Pick A Topic’ section.

There are 10+ more useful suggestions for teachers in the script. Be sure to check them out.

Hands-on Walkthrough

Introductions and Ice Breaker

You can find details of this section in the Introductions and Ice Breaker part of the script.

Begin the workshop by getting a basic and logistic announcement. Once everyone is settled, give a brief introduction of yourself and the workshop. Then go through the agenda that you will be covering.

Take the next 15 minutes or so to have the participants introduce themselves. Encourage them to include the items in the slide 7: name, pronouns, WordPress experience, past speaking experience (if any), and what they want out of the workshop.

Next, cover these topics by using the information provided in the script and the slides.

  • Why are we holding a workshop for folks from underrepresented groups
  • What are we looking for?
  • Dispelling The Myths (What We Think A Speaker Is vs. What They Actually Are)

Finding a Topic

This section will cover:

  • Talk Formats
  • Brainstorm exercise
  • Narrowing Your Topic Selection
  • Refining Your Chosen Topic
  • Present Your Topic (optional)

Writing a Pitch

This section will cover:

  • The Proposal aka “Pitch”
  • Coming Up With a Great Title
  • Writing Your Bio
  • Writing Exercise
  • Present Titles and Pitches (optional)

Creating Your Talk

This section will cover:

  • Writing the outline
  • Coming up with a great title
  • Present title and outline (optional)

Becoming a Better Speaker

This section will cover:

  • Practicing Speaking
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • Handling Nerves
  • Handling Q&A
  • Getting post-talk feedback

Creating Great Slides

This section will cover:

  • Good slide decks
  • More tips

Questions & Sign Up

Take questions if you have some extra time.

Pass around a signup form (or you can send a Google Form via email after the event) for participants to express their interest in speaking at a future meetup or WordCamp.

Have an open discussion to learn how the workshop went for them and ask ideas for improvement.

Make some announcements about:

  • Speaker Story
  • Training for trainers
  • Getting involved in WordPress Diverse Speaker Training group

Then, take a group photo.


There are many exercises throughout this workshop. Additional exercises could include:

  • Brainstorming and refining talk topics on your own
  • Creating a full talk title and pitch
  • Practice giving your talk in the mirror
  • Giving a talk at your local meetup


Who can apply to speak at WordPress events?

  1. Only WordPress experts
  2. Only those with previous speaking experience
  3. Anyone who is interested can do so, as long as they follow the Code of Conduct and the expectations for GPL and Trademark
  4. Anyone can speak, even if they aren’t GPL or Trademark compliant
  5. Only organizers and sponsors

Answer: 3. Anyone who is interested can do so, as long as they follow the Code of Conduct and the expectations for GPL and Trademark

What is impostor syndrome?

  1. A myth: it’s just lack of confidence
  2. A feeling of doubt in one’s skills, talents, or accomplishments, and a fear of being exposed as a “fraud”
  3. A health condition
  4. An incurable syndrome

Answer: 2. A feeling of doubt in one’s skills, talents, or accomplishments, and a fear of being exposed as a “fraud

What is a common myth that prevents people from speaking publicly?

  1. I am not an expert
  2. People will ask questions I can’t answer, and I’ll look like a fool
  3. I’m too nervous to speak
  4. I will be seen as too young or too old to speak
  5. All of the above

Answer: 5. All of the above

True or false: there is only one accepted type of talk format for WordPress events

  1. True
  2. False 

Answer: 2. False

What makes for a great talk title?

  1. Something really clever
  2. Something catchy but explanatory
  3. Something that sounds fun
  4. Something that explains your talk, even if it is a really long title

Answer: 2. Something catchy but explanatory 

My talk pitch should include:

  1. Explanations for why the organizers should select your talk over what the talk will be about
  2. A long explanation of why this talk is important
  3. A specific focus on what the talk will include
  4. Just a quick introduction, my actual talk will have all the information

Answer: 3. A specific focus on what the talk will include 

True or false: I should take extra time to introduce myself at the beginning of my talk

  1. True
  2. False 

Answer: 2. False

What are some ways to strengthen my talk?

  1. Define the learning objectives of your talk
  2. Use repetition of key messages
  3. Use contrasting examples to reinforce your points
  4. All of the above

Answer: 4. All of the above

What is one tip for becoming a better speaker? 

  1. Drink an extra cup of coffee right before your talk.
  2. Talk as fast as you can so that you are finished faster. 
  3. Use filler words, such as “um”
  4. Remember to breathe 

Answer: 4. Remember to breathe

When handling questions after your talk (“Q&A”), what are some good ways to handle tricky questions? 

  1. Repeat the question back to the audience.  
  2. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know. 
  3. Throw it to the audience with something like: “Good question! I’m actually not sure, does anyone here have any ideas?”
  4. Throw the question to a friend or colleague in the audience: “Good question! My colleague Jane actually knows a lot about that – hey Jane, do you have any ideas on this one?”
  5. say something like: “That’s a good question. I’m not sure about the answer, but let me look into that for you – could you send me a tweet or email after the session and we’ll stay in touch?”
  6. All of the above

Answer: 6. All of the above

When creating slides, what is something to avoid?

  1. Write on the slide exactly what you will be saying
  2. Using large, readable font
  3. Using code sparingly
  4. Use images to add humor or help get your point across

Answer: 1. Write on the slide exactly what you will be saying

Should you always get feedback after your talk?

  1. Yes, getting feedback is really useful to getting better at public speaking
  2. No, hearing feedback is scary
  3. Either answer, it is up to you

Answer: 3. Either answer, it is up to you

What is the recommended camera angle for online speakers? 

  1. Keep the camera at eye level —  a tiny bit above eye level even — so that viewers can see part of your torso and so that there is some space above your head. 
  2. It doesn’t matter as long as people can see you.
  3. Zoom in so that people can only see your face.

Answer: 1. Keep the camera at eye level —  a tiny bit above eye level even — so that viewers can see part of your torso and so that there is some space above your head. 

What are some ways to practice speaking online?

  1. Practice with the camera on
  2. Practice with the mic and lights on
  3. Practice one full run through without stopping
  4. Practice by recording yourself and playing it back to make sure everything sounds and looks good
  5. All of the above 

Answer: 5. All of the above