WordCamp Speaker Workshop

Photo of Kathryn PresnerPhoto of Tammie ListerOn Sunday, November 16, from 9:30 am-noon, Tammie Lister and Kathryn Presner – both part of the Theme Division at Automattic – will run a session called So You Want to Be a WordCamp Speaker: A practical workshop for beginners.

Between them, Tammie and Kathryn have spoken over twenty times at WordCamps and BuddyCamps around the world, including WordCamp Europe and WordCamp San Francisco. They’re excited to bring their workshop to Toronto for the first time, where their session is part of the Community track, featuring talks on getting involved in WordPress in other ways, from reviewing themes, to accessibility, to Core.

This Q&A with Kathryn will give you a better sense of the goals behind the workshop and what to expect. We hope to see you there!

What format will the workshop take?

The workshop is a participatory, hands-on affair, so it won’t just be Tammie and I just talking at you for two and a half hours. 😉

We want to get to know each participant – what’s stopped you from speaking in the past, where your WordPress-related passions lie, what made you decide to join the workshop, and what we can most help you with.

There will be some short exercises, too, so bring something to write with, whether it’s pen and paper (we love old school!), a mobile device, or your laptop.

What’s the goal of the workshop?

Our aim is to help people overcome their hesitation to get involved in public speaking. We know there are many things that can stop people – everything from stage fright to imposter syndrome, to just not being sure quite what to talk about.

We feel strongly that for most people, giving them some support and resources can help them overcome and move past their concerns.

We hope that by the time the workshop is over, everyone will feel inspired to submit their first talk, whether it’s to a local WordPress meetup or a WordCamp.

How did the idea for a workshop come about?

Last spring, I read about a workshop Jill Binder put together for Vancouver’s WordPress community, which aimed to encourage more women to submit talks to WordCamps. After reading what a positive experience it was for all involved, I was completely inspired to try something similar.

Before reaching out to the community at large, I approached a couple of my colleagues – Tammie Lister, a WordCamp veteran, and Cat Rymer, who has a performance background and interest in diversity issues. Thankfully, they both agreed to join the adventure, and we started by putting out a call to our co-workers at Automattic to see who might be interested in a beginner’s workshop on public speaking.

We were pretty stunned at the response, with over 20% of the whole company expressing interest. We ran the workshops remotely – since we work in dozens of different countries – and were thrilled to see some of our participants submitting their first WordCamp talks afterwards.

Since our first internal sessions, Tammie and I brought the workshop to WordCamp New York, and we’ll be running it in Montreal just before coming out to WordCamp Toronto.

Where can I find out more?

We’ve put together a site with resources – visit Getspeak.in. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us through the contact form.

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