With less than a week left for Ascend 2023 Call for Presentations to close, I want to share 23 tips for submitting your session proposal. While there is no guarantee that following these tips will ensure a session acceptance, I hope it will make your proposal a compelling one. These tips are my own perspective and are not endorsed by OATUG. These tips should motivate you to submit a presentation proposal today:
- Be original. A topic presented at a previous conference rarely gets selected unless it was a highly rated encore presentation.
- Avoid acronyms. Don’t keep the audience guessing with acronyms in the title or abstract. For example, “OCI” can mean “Oracle Cloud Infrastructure” or “Open Container Initiative”.
- First impression matters. Your session title and first sentence of the abstract should excite the attendee to read further.
- Use all available real estate wisely. At first 800-character abstract seems a lot. Don’t meander and lose your audience midway. Make the sentences short and impactful.
- Share How To. Don’t copy from the implementation manual. Focus on practical steps that attendees can use at work.
- Case studies are welcome. Everyone loves a feel good story of overcoming adversity (e.g. bugs and implementation challenges) and real-life stories from the implementation trenches.
- Learning objectives are important. Attendees often read the session objectives and decide whether to attend a session or not. Same applies for reviewers who shortlist proposals for presentation.
- Abstract and learning objectives should be easy to understand. Not all attendees understand the jargon and technical elements. Save those surprises for the actual presentation content. Abstracts and learning objectives need to be easy to understand at all levels of expertise from novice to experts.
- Follow guidance on character limits. The online submission form will truncate content beyond the character limits. Don’t keep your audience hanging with incomplete title or sentences for the abstract and learning objectives.
- Do spelling and grammar check. Copy your content on a MS Word document and check for spelling and grammar. Don’t leave it to OATUG volunteers to fix them.
- Limit discussing custom solutions. Custom solutions are often specific to your organization or business process and difficult for the audience to relate to and replicate.
- Leave third party solutions to vendors. OATUG has Vendor Awareness Sessions (VAS) and other opportunities at the conference for showcasing third party solutions.
- Don’t use company name on the title or abstracts. Limit the PR to the actual presentation. For the presentation, you can have a slide talking about your company.
- Add your co-presenters. Add co-presenters and share the limelight especially if you are doing a joint presentation with a client or user company.
- Select the correct education track. Don’t let your proposal get lost. I have seen a database upgrade topic submitted for professional growth track. Who am I to argue on that!
- Select your target audience. Identify whether you will be discussing more functional or more technical topic or both.
- Select your session type. Not all sessions are lecture sessions. It may be a panel discussion or a Meet The Experts sessions. Select the appropriate session type along with more insights if you are presenting a business case, case study or tips and tricks.
- Select presenter type. Audiences look forward to presentations from users/customers as well as associates/partners and Oracle.
- Don’t be a mystery person. There is a 1000-character bio to introduce yourself to the conference audience. Let the world know who you are.
- Indicate if you are an Oracle ACE. Oracle ACE status may influence the audience to attend your session.
- Have your draft presentation proposal reviewed before you submit. This is optional but highly recommended to have a peer review your draft proposal.
- Get tips from the experts. View the on-demand recording of "How to Improve Your Chances of Being Selected to Speak at Ascend 2023"
- Submit early and often. Submit more than one proposal to increase your chances for selection. OATUG will draw on these proposals for other educational programs throughout 2023, so don't hold back!
About the author:
Mohan Dutt works at Equinix, an OATUG user member, in the role of IT Director of Finance Shared Services. An Oracle ACE Alumni, he has been presenting for the last 20 years. He has hosted nearly 100 sessions at OATUG and Oracle OpenWorld conferences worldwide from 2001 to 2022. He is a long serving volunteer at OATUG and currently serves on the OATUG Board of Directors and is the Agenda Chair for Ascend 2023 conference.