ZOMG people. You only have seven precious days to carefully consider your proposals for the upcoming IA Summit. So to help out, we borrowed some content from last weekend’s proposal-writing webinar.
Great Talks Start with Great Presentations was an opportunity for future proposal submitters (that means you, we hope) to hear expert advice from seasoned speakers Russ Unger and Samantha Starmer. It just so happens they are also writing a book about becoming a speaker, so they had a ton of great advice for everyone. Oh, and thanks again to our wonderful sponsors UIE and EightShapes for making our webinar dreams come true.
The slides from the webinar are posted on SlideShare if you would like them for future reference, you can find them here.
Below are 7 questions we think you might have for us with 7 days left to submit. If you have any other last minute questions about the submission process, please feel free to reach out to us on the twitters.
Q1: When is the deadline? And will you be extending it as in years past?
A: Submissions close a minute before midnight, eastern time, on October 7th, 2013. The deadline will not be extended. There are many reasons for the firm deadline, chief among them: breaking the perception that the IA Summit proposal deadline always gets moved. This is number 15, people! We can all handle a hard deadline.
Q2: What’s this blind review thing?
A: Every session will be peer-reviewed. This first step is an anonymous, or ‘blind’ review. Reviewers focus on the content of your submission rather than on who you are. This keeps it fair: no bonuses for rockstars, colleagues or friends. It helps us if you make an effort not to reveal your identity in your proposal. Once the blind review has taken place, a team of 6 curators will sort through all the feedback and make a recommended track of content. Finally the chair committee will organize the final schedule and invite selected speakers. More on that and the curation process in this article.
Q3: Is it a bad practice to use a similar title to something you have published if it strips away the anonymity?
A: We take the blind review process seriously. Over 100 volunteers have been recruited to help review and categorise what tends to be over 500 proposals. For this process to work, and to remain ethical, it is important to have your submission be as anonymous as possible. The submission form gives you space to explain why you are the best person to present this, so you can mention that you have practical experience related to your topic, or written a book, or etc. After the work from our blind review process, the volunteer program curation team will take your identity and experience into consideration.
Do your best to provide an anonymous proposal, but don’t let it stop you from submitting if you aren’t sure. We’ll adjust for fit and fairness as need be: just focus on great content.
Q4: How closely is the theme used when choosing submissions?
A: We do care about our theme. This year, we hope that we have cast a wide enough net with it that you can easily fit in your subject. The curation team is encouraged to take their own view on their track’s content while considering the theme and having an ongoing conversation with the chairing committee as well.
Q5: How much actual content of the talk should be in the abstract? How long should it be?
A: Summarize the core points, but don’t turn your abstract into a full outline of your presentation. Respect the time and attention of the volunteers who will be reviewing your submission. Also keep in mind that we have asked the questions beyond just the title and description:
What keywords describe your topic best?
What will attendees take away from your talk?
Why are you the best person to give a talk on this topic?
You will have a few months to write the presentation if accepted, so don’t worry if you aren’t quite sure how to deliver things just yet.
Q6: What is meant by “interactive session”?
A: Sessions are either 20 or 45 min long. An interactive session is just letting us know that you would like to do more than talk. Leading a short form workshop or a special event or discussion in your time slot. We are also open to longer sessions but may request you are not located in the main conference rooms, but instead in another space in the hotel.
Q7: What if we put a presentation together, get accepted, and then our idea changes?
A: Have an honest conversation with us if that happens. It’s not unusual for a title or thematic approach to change as you develop your material, however, you should expect to present on the same general topic as submitted. As you might expect, we must reserve the right to remove a session from the schedule if your newly-selected approach becomes less relevant or overlaps too strongly with another presentation.
We hope that you are considering what you might talk about or are currently hovering on the submit button. If there is anything we can do to edge you towards throwing your hat into the ring, please let us know.