I have had many opportunities to be on conference program committees. A common committee responsibility is to review and score conference presentation applications. Having read hundreds of conference presentation proposals I would encourage you to follow these tips:
1. Know the conference attendees. Submit clinical topics to conferences primarily attended by clinicians. Submit educator topics for educator conferences.
2. Spell check, grammar check, and proofread. If the session title doesn’t match the description of the session I assume you are too lazy to proofread your application. I have no interest in your slides. Three or more grammar errors or typos in a 100 word session description is a total fail.
3. Clever session titles that match with the conference theme and or location. Use your imagination and show some creativity when naming your session. Help it stand out from the crowd. Carry this creativity through to the actual presentation design and delivery.
4. Actually describe the presentation. When asked to describe the presentation in 150 to 200 words actually describe the presentation with sentences. A list of bullet points or an outline usually doesn’t transfer well to the computer based scoring systems and usually don’t show significant thought given to the proposal.
5. Under promise and over deliver. Many 90 minute conference proposals promise just the opposite by describing a session that could be a semester long college course. Instead of covering everything about student assessment focus on a specific niche like multiple choice question construction or preceptor evaluation of students.
6. Turn off the CAPS lock. There is a good chance your submission will either be copied into a database or entered directly into a database. Regardless, I won’t see any of the fancy formatting you may have applied. All I see is plain text. Your best bet is to go for neutral emotional response. CAPS lock will always trigger a negative emotion without me even reading what you wrote.
What are your conference submission tips?