Tips for Submitting a Proposal to AIEC 2014

With call for proposals ending Friday, 28 March, only a few weeks left!

Are you still undecided on whether to submit a proposal?

This year, with all the new different formats and options, it can feel a little daunting, so I thought I’d make a selection of my top tips, which hopefully will encourage you to submit, and improve your chances of your proposal being accepted.

Read examples from previous conferences
Before you start your proposal, read examples of sessions on the website from our previous conferences. It will give you a good idea of the tone, topics and angles that tend to fit the conference. We want to avoid repeating the exact topics from one year to the next, so we suggest the reading as background only, but it’s good to get of a sense of what the titles and abstracts should focus on.

Can your title stand alone?
It’s common to go for the quirky or goofy title, to the detriment of a meaningful, albeit slightly more boring title. While an ‘out of the square’ title can sometimes be the right way to go (there have been great examples in the past), please ask yourself first whether this title can stand alone, and whether it provides readers a good idea of what the presentation will be about, without having to read the abstract.

Go straight to the point
The abstract is only 150 words, so it’s important that you get straight to the point and tell us what your presentation (or panel) is about. Don’t just set up the question or state the obvious, make sure the abstract conveys what content you will be presenting or talking about.

Think of your target audience
While there are certainly topics that are so niche that we can’t accept them due to the limited audience, there is also the risk of being so general we can’t see attendees getting enough concrete from the presentation. Before you conceptualise your proposal, think about the intended audience and what they will want to hear/learn.

Think how you want to present the information
The conference is offering different types of formats, so you also need to keep the target audience in mind when deciding what the best delivery format will be. For example, if your proposal would only appeal to a very small number of people (under 15) don’t select ‘expert lecture’ as your only ‘session type’! You’ll have much better chances to be accepted if select café session or poster.

Don’t give us a sales pitch
Speakers from specific companies or company representatives that may appear on the program are chosen because they are bringing lessons learned from a peer-to-peer perspective, and not because they are delivering a sales pitch. The main challenge for you, especially if you work in the PR or marketing department of your organisation, will be to figure out how your talk can contribute to the industry, and articulate that. It’s about what you’ve learned, not about how great your product is.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and wish you the best of luck!