Tips on how to prepare a good proposal
Here are some tips that might help you prepare your submission to AIEC.
1. Think of the best format for your presentation
The conference is offering different types of presentation formats, so you need to keep the target audience in mind when deciding the most appropriate delivery format. For example, if your proposal would only appeal to a very small number of people (under 15) you’ll have better chances to be accepted if you consider presenting the information as a poster.
To maximise the chances of your proposal being accepted, we encourage you to consider submitting the proposal for a "presentation or poster" (not just one or the other).
2. Think of your target audience
While there are certainly topics that are so niche that we can’t accept them due to the limited audience, there is also the risk of being so general we can’t see attendees getting enough concrete learning outcomes from the presentation. Before you conceptualise your proposal, think about the intended audience and what they will want to hear/learn. Who is this proposal for? What will they take away from the session? Will they be able to use the information presented and apply it in their own institutions and at work?
To know more about AIEC's delegates, read 'Who attends AIEC?'
3. Go straight to the point
The abstract is only 150 words, so it’s important that you get straight to the point and tell us what your presentation (poster, cafe session or panel) will address. Don’t just set up the question or state the obvious, make sure the abstract conveys what content you will be presenting or talking about and what will be the takeaways for the audience.
4. Can your title stand alone?
It’s common to go for the quirky or goofy title, to the detriment of a meaningful, albeit slightly more boring title. While an ‘out of the square’ title can sometimes be the right way to go (there have been great examples in the past), please ask yourself first whether this title can stand alone, and whether it provides readers a good idea of what the presentation will be about, without having to read the abstract. The printed ‘pocket planner’ at the conference will only include the title of your presentation (not the full abstract), so it’s important to think about the ‘content’ of your title. (Note the abstract will be available online and through the conference app).
5. Do your title and abstract accurately reflect what you will present in your session?
Your title and abstract will be published in the conference program, and delegates will decide whether or not to attend your session based on the abstract. It is important that delegates are not ‘misled’ and that your abstract truly reflects the content that will be delivered in your session.
6. Prepare your proposal offline
Only the primary contacts and primary speakers will be able to read/edit it in X-CD Submission System. If you have more than one speaker, consider uploading the editable PDF form of the submsision form to Google Documents, Dropbox or another document sharing service, so that you and all your co-presenters can all view and make changes to the proposal before you submit it online.
7. Don’t give us a sales pitch
Speakers from specific companies or company representatives that may appear on the program are chosen because they are bringing lessons learned from a peer-to-peer perspective, and not because they are delivering a sales pitch. The main challenge for you, especially if you work in the PR or marketing department of your organisation, will be to figure out how your talk can contribute to the industry, and articulate that. It’s about what you’ve learned, not about how great your product is.
8. Make sure you complete all speaker profiles
One common reason for rejection is that not all spekaers are confirmed at the time of submission. This can sometimes mean the difference between getting your proposal accepted or not. To make sure that all speaker profiles are created and updated correctly, get your co-speakers to create their own profile before you add them as speakers. Anyone can create a speaker profile at any time in the X-CD system. Once you create a profile, you then have a a login password, and can edit the information on your profile at any time. By asking your co-speakers to create their own details, it could also save you time.
9. Avoid common reasons for rejection
Before you develop and submit your proposal, please read and understand the review and selection criteria. It will give you a better understanding of what the committee is looking for, which abstracts stand out, and what are the common reasons for rejection.
10. Read session abstracts from previous conferences
Before you start your proposal, read examples of sessions on the website from our previous conferences. It will give you a good idea of the tone, topics and angles that tend to fit the conference. We want to avoid repeating the exact topics from one year to the next, so we suggest the reading as background only, but it’s good to get of a sense of what the titles and abstracts should focus on.