The deadline for the Call for Proposals for the 2013 Summit is 5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) on Monday, 10 September. That leaves you only a few days to finish your proposal and submit it. Chris Hester, chair of the Program Advisory Committee, wrote the below guest post with a few suggestions for your proposal. All proposals must be submitted through our online submission system.
Plans are underway for the 2013 Technical Communication Summit, and the deadline for the Call for Proposals is a few short days away. On 22 August, we hosted a web seminar to provide some tips for planning your proposal, plus give you some insight into the proposal review and selection process. [You can see a recording of that webinar here.]
The Summit’s Program Committee aims to deliver a comprehensive, exciting conference experience for our attendees. The program will have more than 70 educational sessions from the Call for Proposals, and using guidelines such as industry trends and attendee feedback, the Committee will select sessions that focus on:
- Current trends and technologies
- New perspectives on core knowledge areas
- Content that attendees can quickly try and apply
Topic selection and planning
Picking a topic can be one of the biggest challenges when deciding what to propose. Think about what you do well and know best. What is your area of expertise? How does that area align with the content tracks and session types?
Planning your session involves just that—planning.
- Brainstorm your ideas first. Don’t write your first draft of the proposal in the system. Take some time to sketch out a draft before you start the online form. The proposal checklist on the submission site provides a good starting point for putting together that draft.
- Know your audience. Read the Summit background, visit the social sites. The STC Summit is attended by professionals in the technical communication industry. What is this audience interested in and talking about these days?
- Get a second opinion. The Summit offers sessions intended to meet the needs of technical communication professionals. Run your idea past a work colleague or friend. Ask someone to review your draft proposal before you enter it in the system.
The more information you provide about your presentation, the more informed decision the proposal reviewers can make about how your presentation fits into the track and the overall program. The proposal reviewers are looking for your knowledge and experience in your topic, so be clear and concise when writing your proposal.
A few things to remember when entering your proposal in the system:
- The Title and Description that you enter are used in the program, so clearly describe the session. Attendees are disappointed when titles and descriptions do not reflect the content of the presentation.
- In your description, use active verbs to explain what will happen in the session. Avoid jargon and buzzwords. These are subjective and will lead your track reviewers astray.
- Use the Supporting Materials section in the system to provide details and samples. For example, the Detailed Session Plan is your opportunity to help the reviewers understand what participants can expect in your session with respect to timeline, content, activities, exercises, etc.
Proposal Review and Selection
When the proposal reviewers start to read the submissions, they’ll be asking themselves questions such as:
- Is the proposal content of current interest?
- Has the content been presented previously? How often?
- Does the content present a problem and solution the audience can relate to? Does the content present ideas or techniques the audience can try or apply right away?
- Will participants engage in discussion?
- Is this a session I would want to attend? Would I recommend this session to someone?
- Is the proposal well-written? Does this proposal make me want to learn more about the topic?
The track teams perform the first round of reviews, reading all of the proposals submitted to their tracks and then recommending the top proposals. The conference and program managers also review all of the proposals, compile the team’s recommendations, review the proposals as a line-up, and then start designing the program.
If you have questions about a track, a topic, or the process, contact a track manager, Paul Mueller, or Chris Hester. Presenting at the Summit is a great experience, and we look forward to seeing your proposal.