Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Conference Proposal

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Your next academic conference could be a career shifter, especially if you’re the one presenting. You never know what nugget of knowledge you’ll walk away with, or who you might meet that will transform your career and take it to the next level. And when you’re a presenter, you don’t know who in your audience is listening, and what they’ll do with the information you’ve shared with them.

Conferences play a vital role in the academic world, which is why they remain so popular post-COVID. Each meeting is a chance for those in the research community to network, learn what new tools and technologies are coming down the pipeline, and possibly find their next project idea. In fact, the only problem with an academic conference is getting the attention of the organizers and convincing them that you should be a presenter. That’s where your conference proposal comes into play.

What to Include in Your Conference Proposal

Presenting at a conference gives you the rare opportunity to build your resume, advance your scholarly reputation, travel, and boost your interview ratings all at the same time. Because of the underlying importance that comes with this event, there will be many people writing conference proposals in the hopes of being accepted.

Conference proposals are separate documents that serve as your outline as to what your presentation would look like should you be chosen as a speaker. Consider your primary audience to be the review committee or person organizing the conference and the next audience as the attendees.

Within this document, the first thing you must do is define the problem your research addresses succinctly and quickly. You don’t have too much time to get the reader’s attention, so use keywords and important information from your work that describes the problem. If it’s controversial, that’s even better because it catches an important idea and attempts to solve it.

However, make sure your research matches the conference topics or theme. A research paper on the advantages of carbon-based fuel over wind-generated methods would not go well at a conference designed for environmentally-friendly topics.

Before you submit your proposal, run through an example of how it would look in real-time. Is it realistically designed to fit in the allotted time frame you’re given? Should you cut anything, or add more? Then, check over the guidelines and ensure you’ve included everything. You’ll need a descriptive and catchy title, the correct word count, and any additional information requested. Finally, check the deadline once again and make sure it hasn’t passed while you were preparing your proposal.

Mistakes to Avoid for Maximum Effectiveness

Your proposal is now almost ready to send. Let’s go over it first and double-check that you didn’t inadvertently make these common mistakes:

●      You’ve carefully chosen each of your limited words to eliminate jargon and filler. Your proposal is like an abstract and should be concise and informative. Skip phrases and words that serve as unnecessary adjectives or could be condensed to say the same idea.

●      You’re not letting distractions pull you away from your important document. You don’t have a lot of words to be able to waste, so you need to write this while you’re thinking as clearly as possible and don’t have any outside distractions.

●      You’ve walked away from your document for a while, rested, and come back with a fresh perspective. Now, you can check for mistakes, grammatical errors, ideas that aren’t as clear as you thought they were, and other editing essentials.

As long as you’ve avoided those common mistakes and included everything the presentation guidelines require, you can submit your proposal with confidence. You have just as much of a chance of being selected as your peers.

Next Step: Add Your Presentation to Your Impactio Profile

When everything goes as planned, and you received the coveted invitation to present at a conference, your career trajectory is taking off in a new direction. Before you get too busy with the contacts you made and the potential ideas you’ve come up with, take a minute to update your profile on Impactio.

As an academic expert in the spotlight for a little while after the conference, others will be reviewing your Impactio profile. They’ll want to see your previous and current research, your stats, and what you’ve been up to lately before they approach you with other projects or collaborative requests. Take the presentation you made, complete with your abstract and digital handouts, and add them to your list of accomplishments. You worked hard to get that invitation; show it off on Impactio’s global network!

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