Tips for crafting a good proposal
This article is based on my experience after revising around dozens of abstracts before getting it approved in any international conferences. The most common way of getting into conferences across the globe is by submitting an abstract. Writing an abstract is a skill that you gain over time. It is trickier both for beginners and seasoned speakers. I am sharing a few tips which worked for me and would keep adding as I know more on this.
Title of proposal: The title of the proposal is the most important stuff of your proposal when you are submitting proposals at a conference. When there are multiple tracks going on in a conference most people enter your talk by just seeing the topic title and visualising their learnings. Keep the title of your talk/workshop short and crisp to draw the attention of the audience and remember the key theme of the talk should come out easily while reading the title.
Abstract and key takeaways: Once you have the crisp title of your talk, it is equally important to align your thoughts to have a good lineup for the abstract. It is always good to follow a story lineup in the abstract. Consider abstract as your journey of something which you solved and would like to share with the community. The problem statement, key challenges, what worked well and what didn’t. Remember short stories attract readers and they are curious to know how you achieved your goal.
Few points to consider while writing an abstract:
- Structured Outline of session
- Short and Crisp abstract
- Highlight uniqueness
- Avoid abbreviations
- Tag right keywords related to topics
Consider 3C’s while you are writing a proposal. Keep your abstract Concise, Cohesive & Coherent
The theme of the conference: Your topic could be a great one but still, it would have not been accepted at a conference as it would have not aligned with the theme of your conference. Spend some time understanding the theme of the conference and propose a topic on one of those themes.
Know your audience: While you are crafting your proposal think about your audience, whether the keywords used in the proposal are common across or is it something new or is it your team lingo. Avoid using unfamiliar words and if needs to be used add it with a brief explanation. Also, tweak your proposal by looking at previous conference attendees.
Put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes: Once you have crafted a proposal read repeat and read. Read your proposal as you are reading someone else proposal. Note down what is the one unique thing coming out from the proposal which would draw reviewers attention, Is it something which you expected while you were writing a proposal or is it different? Don’t forget that if you have drawn the attention of the reviewer while reading the first paragraph itself of the proposal your proposal chances of getting selecting just doubles.
Feedback and Revise and Feedback: Get your proposal reviewed by a different set of people. What has helped me is if I get the proposal reviewed by my friends who are not in the IT industry, they tried to understand the proposal as a non-techie and they come with dozens of feedback on keywords which I would have added in proposal thinking everyone knows it but it was completely new to them.
Now go ahead and submit your proposal before the deadline :)