The mission of the Speak Up! project is to assist in the guidance and mentorship of potential technical speakers, tutorial presenters and attendees of conference, user groups and other community events. We hope by providing access to mentors from many programming languages who are seasoned speakers, conference organizers, or other volunteers we can grow not just the gender diversity of speakers at technical events, but the diversity of speakers at technical conferences as a whole.

Through positive, reinforcing, polite, and safe actions - we all can increase the diversity of voices in our communities, conferences and elsewhere.

There's a lot of work that goes into speaking at a conference. You can learn to do all of the following:

We will try to help you with everything we can - but yes, in many cases the best way to get better at speaking in public is to speak in public. While many might say, "Go to Toastmasters" or another group, as you can see above, there's a lot more that goes into a successful technical presentation.

90% of the battle can be won by becoming good at recording videos (without 101 takes), doing live webinars, or even setting up a regular YouTube channel. New speakers often battle with the responsibility of speaking and being the target of multiple people's attention for a solid block of time. These battles can be fought virtually. - Peter Cooper

We wish to help train and guide those who might be considering submitting a proposal, or those who are just setting on the road to speaking at a conference or user group and who wish to learn what and how to prepare to speak. This may include one on one mentorship, pointers to resources, in person mentorship, guidance to a local user group (in order to practice a talk in a smaller venue), and connecting speakers with other training and outreach groups such as DevChix, PyLadies and others.

We hope that our mentors and volunteers will be able to do any of the following:

Potentially, we would like to be able to help provide a "burden of proof" on a given person's ability to speak, or presentation, being used as references for budding speakers when they submit talks to conferences who frequently look for "known" factors such as community reach, popularity and speaking track records.