My conference proposal tips
Someone on our team asked me to write up something on conference proposals, so here’s my two cents. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. The initial framework for this comes from my friend Cip.
Know your audience and it’s not conference attendees
Your proposal will be evaluated by people who are well-known in the industry and active on the conference scene. It’s safe to assume they are up to date on the latest trends. They don’t want a speaker to parrot ideas from established thought leaders, they want new ideas and solutions.
Target a compelling problem
We want reviewers to read the title or first line of your proposal and think about a problem they are having today or one that is around the corner. Have you ever had a client who thought of you as an order taker instead of a product partner? I think we can all say yes to that question and want ways to solve it.
There are some non-problem focused talks you can consider: an big untapped opportunity, a strategy-focused talk, a unique take on an emerging topic or an exploration of the future.
Provide a unique solution supported by your experience
Explain your solution and how you arrived at it. I try to break the solution into a series of steps are are clear and actionable. For each step I use an example of challenges I’ve faced or something I learned working on a project. Direct experience with the topic and personal stories really connect with reviewers and conference attendees.
Include plenty of detail in your proposal to help reviewers understand your solution and see your expertise on the topic.
Place it within your brand
Make sure that your topic and solution fits within your organization’s brand. This is a valuable opportunity to build brand equity and connect with potential customers.