Offer a mentoring programme

Speaking at a conference can be really intimidating, especially if you’re not used to public speaking. A mentor can help a first-time speaker prepare, and give them a valuable confidence boost.

Why is it so intimidating? Because you might be nervous, or uncertain, or even attending a conference that isn’t held in your first language!

Offering a speaker mentoring programme can give those people a confidence boost. If somebody is new or nervous, pair them with an experienced speaker who can help them practice and prepare. It’s a great way to get more speakers from different backgrounds, and ensure you have speakers for many years to come!

I like the page on speaker mentoring for PyCon UK 2016. I particularly like that it’s not just practice, but you’re encouraged to ask for other types of help as well:

It could be any kind of help, for any kind of reason: anything from someone who can advise on whether your idea for a talk is a good one to someone who’ll be happy to hear you practise it; even someone who’ll agree to be the session chair for your talk at the event. You tell us what kind of help you’d like.