How to write a successful session proposal

This post originally appeared on the Bring IT, Together website.


For the upcoming Bring IT, Together Conference, the committee expects to review over 500 session proposal (50 minutes sessions on Thursday and Friday) and offer about 150 to conference attendees.

This post will help you become one of the chosen few after a committee reads and reviews each and every submission.

Don’t Procrastinate
It’s OK to submit your proposal at the last minute.  But, that doesn’t mean you write it at the last minute.  Start mind mapping what you want to submit now.  That will start your brain thinking about it and help you write a successful proposal.

A Great Title
It’s the first thing that people see.  You need something that’s going to grab the attention of those looking for sessions to attend.  Look for something that will intrigue and encourage further consideration.

You – A Great Bio
While sessions aren’t judged by the name of the proposer, a solid background on the topic speaks volumes.  Include your background, social media presence, internet resources that you’ve developed, your work in Ontario education, …  All this counts for a strong presenter.  If you’re co-presenting, make sure that you treat all presenters in the same way.

Don’t Name or Theory Drop
Unless you’ve written or co-written some educational theory, adding a line describing it doesn’t add anything to a successful proposal.  Focus on you and your presentation instead.

This is Ontario
And your audience will largely be Ontario educators.  You know what the priorities are for Ontario schools and your own district.  Identify these as solid reasons that your proposal should be accepted.  If you have a unique way of teaching geometry with technology, we want to read it.

The Proposal is Electronic
There was a time when proposals were done on paper and there was a 200 character limit to save on paper printing costs.  Your proposal is electronic and the conference program is as well (Lanyrd).  Use the technology to its best to explain exactly what the session will cover.

Takeaways
What will the audience leave with if they attend?  Specifically identifying the takeaways will make it easier to understand your proposal.  Too often, reviewers will say “I wish they had explained it in more detail.”

Followup
If it is your intention to create a community of learners or sharers, make sure that you include that.  Will there be a Twitter list or Facebook/Google+ group created as a result?  Are you looking to share resources?  What will be the URL to your blog/website/wiki?

Exhibitor Connection
Do you have connections with an exhibitor or other commercial entity?  Include that.  The worst thing you can be accused of is being an advertisement for XYZ if people didn’t know that going in.  Let them know up front and they can choose to attend not attend.

Have another set of eyes
Share your proposal with a colleague and ask for their opinion.  “Would they attend something like this?”  “What wording is needed to convince them?”  

Intended Audience
There is a really good chance that your proposal isn’t for everyone.  Clearly identify that the audience is for “Grade 5 Special Education teachers” or “Superintendents in charge of technology use”.

Engagement
How will you engage your audience?  Unlike the Wednesday workshops, chances are you won’t be hands-on – you’ll be presenting to an audience seated and focused on you.

Good luck!  Please consider these points as you prepare for your proposal submissions.  We want you to be successful.

Check back to this blog regularly for additional tips and information as we lead into Bring IT, Together 2016.  Follow #BIT16 on Twitter and Facebook.


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