Diverse Speaker Training Workshop Part 3

This workshop is for people from marginalized or underrepresented groups who are thinking about speaking at WordPress events. You do not need to have any experience in public speaking, and this workshop is for all levels of experience.

Part 3: Creating your talk

Learning outcomes

  • Learn how to create an outline for your talk
  • Identify what key elements you should include in the introduction, body, and conclusion of a talk

Comprehension questions

  • What makes for a good introduction to your talk?
  • What are the important components of the body of your talk?
  • What elements should you include in the conclusion of your talk?


Jill 0:00
Number four, creating your talk. So in this section, we are going to cover: Writing the outline, coming up with a great title, and, optional at the end, presenting your title and outline.

Writing the outline. So, we have done the who, what, why, how, when where questions about your topic. With these ideas in mind, we’re going to create an outline for your talk. Don’t worry, we’ll talk you through that one. As a basic structure, a talk should have three parts: An introduction, body, and conclusion. Let’s start with the introduction. So what makes a great introduction? Clearly state what your talk is about, what are you going to cover, why does it matter? Pique interest, what’s your hook? Open with impact. Who is it aimed at? And be succinct, use economy of words.

Some tips for writing your introduction. Don’t apologize or incite, or insult yourself. Apologizing in your opening calls attention to any flaws you may be concerned about and reduces the positive engagement of your audience. Don’t spend 10 minutes talking about your resume. Many new speakers begin by talking about their hobbies, family or work history. The trouble is, you’ve begun talking about your content – before you begin talking about your content – audiences aren’t emotionally invested in yet. Spending excessive amounts of time convincing them why they should pay attention to you is far less effective than opening with an engaging content that they’re there to see. Start with a relevant story. Talk about why you’re giving this talk today. This gives a high level context. For example, tell a story about a problem you encountered to lead into a talk about how to solve similar problems. Summarize what you’ll cover or what attendees will walk away with. This gives a high level context for how each part of your talk falls into the larger topic. And ask a friend to introduce you. Better than introducing yourself is asking someone close to you to introduce you to give you praise and assign credibility.

And now we’re going to create an outline for your talk. So what you’ll be doing is writing down some main topics or story headings that you’d like to cover. What’s the main point you want to get across? What are some examples or supporting points that go to illustrate your main point? What would be a logical flow? You can use the who, what, why, how, when, where questions to refine your topic to create your talk sections. And another tip is “people think in threes.” So if you can break your talk down to three supporting points, that could be helpful. Or you could do so you could do three main sections or three supporting points within one of the sections. For the conclusion, you’ll want to summarize what’s being discussed, review the main takeaway points, answer the “so what” question – Why does your topic matter? – Give further resources that may be useful to attendees, and be sure to give the audience your contact information, an email or Twitter handle is good.

So now that you have an outline, let’s refine the title for your talk and be more specific. So again, as we’ve mentioned before, they want to try to think of something catchy, but explanatory, beware of too clever titles, and create a title that can stand on its own without a blurb. For example, don’t use something like “CSS and Elephants,” you’ll want something that when people scan a conference list of talks, they’ll be able to just tell by the titles if they want to see it. And also, if they are just reading the Meetup title, a lot of people don’t actually read the description, so they’ll just decide by the title they want to attend. So the title itself needs to really explain what it is that the talk is about. So what we’re going to do is spend about 10 minutes, quickly drafting up the middle part of the outline, and writing down some possible talk titles. Don’t overthink this; just quickly right off the top of your head, and then we can discuss it after. If you have extra time, you can work on an introduction and conclusion but what we really want to do right now is cover that line because the rest will all come out from that. So I’m going to go ahead and turn the timer on. Any questions before we begin that?

Great okay.

About 20 seconds left All right, how’s everybody doing? Does anybody need more time? So, if we were in person right now, we, we would have been up till now sitting in a circle or depending on the size of the group, we might be in small groups. And at this point, we would be changing the seating to an audience style format where all the chairs are facing the front and the person who’s presenting is standing up with the front and looking at everybody. Because up till now, it’s been, we’ve been creating this safe nest space but when people are actually speaking and doing actual public speaking, it’s not going to have that same feeling. And so kind of building up slowly, to now anybody who wants to practice what it’s like, talking in front of a wall of people, this would be their chance to do that. So we’re going to imagine, because we’re online, sometimes I get people to stand up, and pretend that they’re facing that wall of people. You’re welcome to do that or sit, or continue sitting. What I’ll do is popcorn style, raise your hand if you’d like to share your… if you refine your title, wherever your titles at right now, old or any changes, and what you have written down for the exercise that we just did. Taking volunteers… Miriam!

Miriam Goldman 17:08
All right. So my title is still the same, “The Big Transition: Moving from an office to a remote work culture.” And my outline is really just bullet points at this point.

Jill 17:21

Miriam Goldman 17:22
So I have three main subsections that I would be talking about. So first, I would be talking about why we, like my current company, or others chose to transition or why people choose to work remotely. And the next section would be how do we stay engaged and communication with each other and also some things not to do. And then the final section would be how to deal with like, loneliness that people might feel when working remotely or how to deal with constant interruptions if that’s the type of home environment you have where there’s more than just a dog in my case to interrupt you.

Jill 18:10
Awesome. Did you want feedback?

Miriam Goldman 18:12

Jill 18:13
Super solid. At first, I wasn’t sure about the why section and then when you explained it more, I’m like, of course, it’s not just why working at homes. It’s why are companies moving in that direction? I thought the three sounded perfect. Anyone else have thoughts? Okay, great. Would anybody else like to go?


Chandrika Guntur 18:47
Okay. So my title is still the same, “Building custom WordPress sites with ACF blocks.” Again, I just have like three main points. Now, the first section would be talking a little bit about advanced custom fields and the pro version and how they help build blocks. And then what’s the Gutenberg and how they… why it’s a good editor and then why combining these two gives you can give your clients a really good experience. Kind of introduction to all these things. The second part would be getting into the nitty gritty of how to create these blocks, getting into a little bit of code and templates, using screenshots maybe, how to actually create an ACF pro block. And the third one would be: Once these blocks are created, how they can be used, you know as one block could be used in different ways on different sites, because Gutenberg lets them move around these blocks and put them where they want it. So it kind of gives the user more flexibility, rather than whoever is creating the theme, rather than them putting it in one place and they use, the clients using it. They have more flexibility now, taking the same block, putting it in different places. So how these blocks can be used in different sites and different ways. So that would be the third part. And then the conclusion, maybe.

Jill 20:32
Cool. Awesome. Did you want feedback?

Chandrika Guntur 20:35

Jill 20:37
Awesome, I love the second two sections, I love the you know, getting into the code. And I love, you know, kind of showing how it actually works in the site and showing the benefit of it. For the first section, I kind of… it’ll depend on where you’re speaking. But I think maybe part of it would be useful, like, hopefully, somebody who’s coming to your talk already knows the basics of what Gutenberg is. But you can judge that by the event that you’re speaking at. Maybe they do need a bit more background? But I would hope that if they’re trying to learn something like this, they already have some idea. Unless you find that there’s some things that you really do need to explain that is important for kind of the more specific thing that you’re doing.

Chandrika Guntur 21:24

Jill 21:26
And definitely, you know, it’s probably also depending on the event, they may or may already know what ACF is. I know for myself, I know ACF, I don’t know how it relates to Gutenberg. So having definitely having that background info and then judging if you need more background info as well. And I’m also wondering about maybe switching the order of two and three, you know, do we want to actually talk more about the benefits before getting into the nitty gritty? Because something that, you know, as you write it out, you’ll be able to see what makes sense, but kind of as an intuitive hit, I’m thinking maybe third would come before the second part, possibly,

Aurooba Ahmed 22:08
I differently agree with that.

Jill 22:10

Chandrika Guntur 22:12
Thank you.

Jill 22:16
Anyone else have feedback for Chandrika? All right. We are quiet today! All right. Would anybody else like to share? Bhargav, awesome.

Bhargav Mehta 22:33
So my talk will start with “Why choose your career path.” What is the importance of it? How do I find found my career? But what are the skills involved in each career path? How it changed? How to improve the skills after choosing your career? Why make short term career goals and the importance of certifications and contributions? Some resources that can help you help grow your career.

Jill 23:02
Cool. Do you want feedback? Is that Diwali?

Bhargav Mehta 23:09
My title is the same. Yes, yes. Yes. The background noises.

Jill 23:16
Sounds like fun. Your title is the same?

Bhargav Mehta 23:22
Yes, my title is the same. “My journey as a developer to a functional consultant.” Why I choose that.

Jill 23:30
Okay, great. Perfect. I was wondering, I’m like, did he change his topic? Cool. Did you want feedback? Sure. I actually think I didn’t actually hear any changes, it all sounded very good to me. I definitely want to make sure you keep that title. And yeah, it all sounded solid for me. Anybody else?

Bhargav Mehta 23:59
I guess I diverted a bit from the topic, I guess. So that’s where it’s confusing,

Jill 24:05
I wondered a bit like… I kind of thought it might be a bit different but then I thought maybe when you flesh it out, it’ll relate back to your title? But if you think you might actually have started writing a different thing and if you think that folks want to hear that where you are, then that is totally valid as well. And you might wind up writing a different thing and having a different title and then having two potential talks available.

Bhargav Mehta 24:30
I guess. I won’t make two potential talks. But I guess I will need to change a bit of the content so that I can relate myself to the audience.

Jill 24:41
Yeah, I think one of the things that we really liked about yours was the fact that it was going to be the story. And so making sure to keep the story format, in your content as well.

Bhargav Mehta 24:54
Now I’ll change a bit of the outline so that it sticks to the topic and the storyline.

Jill 25:03
Yeah. Chandrika?

Chandrika Guntur 25:05
I like the resources that you added at the end. I think that will be really helpful for someone who’s actually thinking about a career change. So, yeah.

Jill 25:18
So anyone else have feedback for Bhargav? Angela.

Angela Jin 25:27
Maybe adding something new in your conclusion around what you’re working on or what you’re looking forward to next. Because now that you’ve gotten past that transition, it kind of sets the stage for the next thing for what somebody could be looking forward to. Like Jill said, I also really like that it’s a story format.

Jill 25:53
Yeah, that’s great feedback, Angela. Okay, great. Would anybody else like to share theirs? Aurooba!

Aurooba Ahmed 26:06
Okay, I have two possible titles a little bit. The one is “Save time by extending existing Gutenberg blocks.” And the other is “Getting started with Gutenberg development extending existing blocks,” because it’s a really good jumping off point for someone who wants to start developing Gutenberg to first, sort of like when you’re doing theme development, you want to start with child themes first. In WordCamp NYC, I always see we usually have the intro being done by a volunteer. They read your bio, or anything else that you want them to read. So that would probably happen first, something like that. And then the first part is: why would you want to do this where I run through this scenario that made me want to extend a block and exactly what that was. And essentially, my client needed the cover block that could do video and/or a solid color. And at the time, Gutenberg didn’t have that ability. So that’s, so I run through that. And then I talk about some prerequisites. So you have to understand Gutenberg, you need to have some familiarity with JavaScript, and be familiar with PHP. So just in case there are some people who are thinking I’m going to go through like super, super basic stuff, just to let them know. Then a quick overview of Gutenberg from a developer’s perspective. So this covers helpful terminology and how it connects to the client-facing Gutenberg functionality. Then we run through basic JSX syntax, which is anything helpful about JSX, that’s going to help us understand how to [inaudible] Gutenberg-specific functionality. Then we run through how to create block variables, which is the first way that is super easy to create Gutenberg, extend Gutenberg blocks, then how to set up custom attributes, then how to connect the custom attributes to custom controls. Controls are what you actually play around with, and then putting it all together, how to use what we just learned to extend the cover block. And then I run through the actual code and show you how everything we’ve learned gets used in doing what I did for my client. And then a recap, plus other resources that can help you develop Gutenberg and how to get in touch with me.

Jill 28:21
Wow. Would you like feedback?

Aurooba Ahmed 28:30
Yep, always.

Jill 28:30
That sounds awesome. That sounds like there’s always at least a few talks at every WordPress conference that I don’t follow. And that might be yours. Because you know, I’m an intermediate developer, and that sounds like kind of somewhere between intermediate and more. I might, I don’t know, I might be able to follow it. It sounded solid to me. It sounded like you cover everything that would be needed. This definitely wouldn’t be a lightning talk. You have a lot of meat in there. Definitely a longer talk.

Aurooba Ahmed 29:02
As an interpreter developer, you could follow it. If you’ve used the ACF in any kind of development, you could follow.

Jill 29:08

Aurooba Ahmed 29:11
Just saying!

Jill 29:12
Okay, cool. And that’s something you might want to put in your I mean, it might be just obvious from your pitch…

Aurooba Ahmed 29:19
I did put it in the pitch.

Jill 29:19
..what level… you did, okay, cool. Yeah, anybody else have thoughts? And I for some reason, cannot see hands anymore. After I switched the way I shared my screen, I only see one person so go ahead and jump in. Oh, no, wait, I just switched it to the other format. I can see hands again. Chandrika.

Chandrika Guntur 29:41
I like it. It’s pretty solid. And I think that if I go to your talk, I would come away with a lot of things.

Aurooba Ahmed 29:49
Thank you.

Jill 29:52
I should add, I like the flow of it. I like the way it, the you’ve got it building as well. Anyone else? All right. Would anybody else like to share theirs today? Angela? I think Are you the last one?

Angela Jin 30:11

Jill 30:12
I think I’m covering everybody okay.

Angela Jin 30:15
Um, I’m not sold on my title yet. I, I’m terrible with titles; I usually don’t pick them until the end. But so far I have, it’s called “Tips for collaborating globally to build WordPress.” And I thought I would start out with a story about a time where we missed a project deadline because of some miscommunication due to time differences and lack of shared understanding, and kind of discussing why this is important within the… across our community. And emphasizing that the goal of this talk is to kind of get greater awareness of how we build open source software and community when we’re all around the world. So first, kind of diving into what the community looks like: All the different disciplines, how we’re spread out, and how communication tends to work in WordPress. And then where challenges can tend to come up due to everyone being so distributed. And then talking about some tips on how to bridge time differences. And then third, picking out some cultural communication nuances around the world. One of my favorite ones is like, our sense of time is very different around the world. And that’s a big one when you’re trying to build things together. And so some tips there for building some more shared understanding, and then ending it by saying, like, if I had all of this knowledge, and I was able to apply it to that story where I failed that first time, how things might have gone differently had I applied all these tips I just shared, and then kind of expanding that a little more to say like, this is something we could bring to the whole WordPress community. Yeah. Very rough outline.

Jill 32:19
Yeah. Did you want feedback?

Angela Jin 32:22
Yeah, please.

Jill 32:24
I loved it. And you know, you’ve got your story in there really well. I like, again, I like how it builds. I like your ending on how things could have gone. I don’t think I have any feedback, any improvements for that line. For the title, the first half sounded more clear. And depending on what event you’re speaking at, if it’s appropriate to talk about building WordPress, awesome, and if it’s, if that would be weird at the event that you’re at, then maybe, you know, building projects together. Especially people who don’t understand about building WordPress as the the technology itself, what it is really is building a project. So that can be one way of making that more clear for general folks, depending again, like you, you would tweak that depending where you’re speaking. And even saying “building the WordPress project” might even be more clear itself, possibly.

Anyone else have thoughts for Angela? All right, great. Well, thank you everyone. So what we’re going to do now is move on to the next section. Okay, and so the next section is “becoming a better speaker,” which I know one or two of you are especially excited for this section in particular.



I lead the Diverse Speaker Training group in the WordPress.org Community Team. We have a workshop that encourages more diverse folks to apply to speak at WordPress events.

I helped organize the first BuddyCamp and for three years co-organized WordCamp Vancouver. I was named one of the top 100 Influencers of WordPress in 2014 by Torque Magazine and one of the top 10 Women of WordPress by CloudWays.

Aurooba Ahmed

Interests: content-first web development, PHP, JS, React, HTML, CSS

I care about friendly useable websites built with clean and elegant code. Always doing my best to keep learning and building my best.

Angela Jin

An inveterate volunteer, Angela has a longstanding passion for building strong, inclusive communities. She joined Automattic in 2018 as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project, and adores working with WordPress communities around the world. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Angela is currently trying out Madrid, Spain, where she delights in learning Spanish, exploring by eating, and reading a good book.

Miriam Goldman

WordPress Developer, Architect, and Tech Lead. WordCamp Ottawa and WordPress Ottawa meetup co-organizer. WordCamp speaker. Karate sensei, and percussionist.

Chandrika Sista

Chandrika is a WordPress developer. She loves to build custom WordPress websites and plugins. She started working with WordPress in 2011.

Currently working as a web developer for Camna LLC.

Bhargav Mehta

Humming to the melodies of A. R. Rahman is my full-time job. Expanding the horizons of knowledge by reading is what people always find me doing. E-commerce raises my dopamine levels and hence I work on E-comm projects. Currently working as Assistant Project Manager at Commerce Pundit.