Todd DeLuca, Conference Committee Chair
By now you’ve seen the notice that the call for proposals for the 2017 Summit is open and that there is a theme this year, “Gain the Edge to Get Results.” We chose this theme because we want speakers and attendees to share and discuss new and innovative topics that are forward thinking and help “get results.” But what exactly is the conference committee looking for? Here is some advice to help you prep your proposal.
Have you stretched or expanded your role in unexpected ways? Did it achieve surprising results? We want people to share stories of how they have stretched the boundaries of traditional tech comm roles and activities and how it worked out (both successes and failures). How have you grown or taken initiative to advance your skills, experience, or career? What kinds of experiments or trials with new techniques or tools have you conducted? What did you learn? Doing things that don’t fit our normal routines or put us in the spotlight can be uncomfortable. But we don’t grow or get recognition if we don’t take those chances and step off the normal path (the whole risk and reward thing).
We’re looking for proposal submissions that
- hit upon the theme and demonstrate an unexpected, advanced, or less traditional way of looking at or fixing a problem.
- take a common subject to a higher level.
- inspire people to stretch boundaries or achieve more.
- support or encourage leadership or help existing managers and decision makers improve their teams, increase collaboration, or connect with other executives.
You have some great stories to tell and takeaways from your experiences, which we want you to share in an engaging way. We want to stretch what attendees expect and hear from you.
Consider these questions:
- How is what you are speaking about giving the attendee an edge, and what were the results?
- Will the audience connect with your experiences and be motivated to try something similar in their work?
- What’s your strategy for connecting with the audience?
- How does your session expand the typical ‘show and tell’ presentation?
- What expected attendee questions will your session answer?
We’ve done the traditional documentation topics for a while now, so this year we’re asking for new, unique, and refreshing content. We want to demonstrate leadership, connect with broader audiences, communicate across multiple channels and cultures (internal and international), produce flexible and effective material, and assist decision makers. Attendees should come away with surprising results, recommendations, or stories from your session. They should leave with specific ideas, lessons, processes, takeaways, or suggestions that they can take back to further their career and become more effective at work.
The committee is looking for fresh, new, or recent content. If you’ve given a similar talk at another conference (or Summit), tell us how your current proposal is different and updated. People who attend Summit should have unique opportunities to learn that they won’t get anywhere else. Exclusive ‘Summit only’ content will be given special consideration. If you have a fairly standard subject or topic you want to present, don’t worry. There’s still room for more traditional tech writing, user assistance, tools, and similar subjects (we have a broad audience at Summit).
One last thing to consider is which session type will work best for your presentation. This year we are introducing two new session types: spotlight talks and training solutions. These sessions will offer presenters and attendees the best opportunities to foster learning, open discussion, and present information.
So, with all these tips in mind, I hope you are ready to prepare your proposal. Proposals are due no later than 11:59 PM EDT (GMT-4) on Monday, 12 September. If you have questions, contact the conference committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck and see you in DC!