By Erik Bean, Ed.D.
Associate University Research Chair
Center for Leadership Studies & Organizational Research
Tips for Getting Accepted for Presentation
Tips for Getting Accepted for Presentation
Getting a presentation accepted at any conference is a challenging proposition. However, when compared to acceptance rates for journal publication, most would agree it’s easier. That said, for some the process is more amiable than others. Some seem to have a never-ending supply of research ideas and an inherent ability to find and connect them to the literature while others struggle to come up with one new idea. If the latter describes you, or you are relatively new to the standard menu of conference presentation types, then this blog is for you.
Bring Value to the Table
The process starts with either a research project you are currently involved in or a best practice you empirically know which adds value to the classroom. In some cases a third person authoritatively written editorial tying known concepts or paradigms to the current state of discipline affairs may be considered. These are non-negotiable for all conferences serve first and foremost to educate their target audience to increase their discipline knowledge or day-to-day effectiveness.
For educators, this amounts to helping students perform better or make research connections that add value to better understand the discipline. For industry, the resulting presentation should help the field conduct business more efficiently, increase revenue, engagement, or raise more funds. Where does your expertise rest and have you closely examined the conference theme to draw a solid but unique connection?
Align with the Conference Theme
For example, let’s look at the Annual Global International Leadership Association (ILA) 2017 Brussels Conference (#ILA2017Brussels). The theme, Leadership in Turbulent Times, is the underlying call for all proposal types and all presentation tracks, for education and industry, which in this case includes politics and civics. When developing your proposal be strategic, always include the theme! If it is not obviously relevant to the conference, it is unlikely to be accepted.
Understand the Types of Presentation
Knowing the conference tracks and presentation types is a must since each proposal is obligated to speak to them. For example, developing a proposal for a roundtable is different than developing one for a workshop. Additionally, a panel discussion, which typically requires no more than six panel participants as well as a chair to moderate, is much different than a lecture, or presentation to accompany a poster session. Your proposal must take into account these differences. Take the time to review the types of presentations in the call and get familiar with their format if you are not already. From there, you can address the question of how to best dress your proposal for a good match.
Tailor Your Presentation Proposal
It is important to consider the type since the language in the proposal must address the nature of the presentation. If you are proposing a workshop, you might ask prospects to bring their computer and you should be prepared to include instructions via a website or handout. If you are proposing a panel discussion, you have either already collaborated with other likeminded scholars or have answered a potential collaborative panel call aboard the conference website.
While the poster session is typically not a presentation type one immediately vies for, it can result from a basic proposal whose objective is to share a current sanctioned or dissertation study. If accepted, you will be required to design a poster based on specific guidelines. Poster sessions can feature as little as a dozen or several dozen scholars who stand on guard to answer questions by their posters in the main conference exhibit hall while the many attendees peruse through them.
Stay Mindful of Word Count
No matter the format, it is incumbent upon all prospects to heed the maximum proposal word counts. In the case of ILA 2017 Brussels this can be found on the Requirements and Evaluation page. Many might be surprised to discover that most proposals are to be no more than 200 words and in most cases only 100 or 50 words. Imagine that! These few words will either deny one from the chance to be visible or allow one to impact the conference, the body of knowledge, and his or her professional life for years to come.
Have you zeroed in on the many other types of presentations available at the conference you are targeting? Have you considered how your current research or best classroom practices add value to the conference theme? Have you closely examined each conference track to be sure your proposal best meets its requirements? Finally, have you considered the style, syntax, and relatively few word count needed for your targeted proposal type? If you have, then you might likely be ready to submit the proposal by the drop dead deadline (for ILA 2017 is Feb. 1, 2017). Being this strategic deserves best wishes for presentation acceptance for you.
Once selected, read up on how to best prepare for your conference presentation.