Submitting a proposal to speak at Service Management Conference is a chance to open a sustained dialogue with your peers and expand your network. In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Aprill Allen shares her tips for those thinking of submitting a proposal.
I’m glad you’re interested in sharing your story with our delegates for the 20th annual national itSMF Conference. I want you to have the best possible chance at joining us in Melbourne this year, so here are some tips to help your submission be successful.
Our members love case studies. Case studies consistently rate highly with our members and it’s easy to understand why. They’re in ready-made story-telling format, which makes them easy to relate to, easy to understand, and easy to remember. Whether a case study demonstrates your success or ultimate failure, it should start with a background setting of who and where, follow up with what your big hairy challenge was, how you approached solving it, what the outcome was, and why it went the way it did — your lessons learned. This is the valuable part that helps each of us grow from your experience.
Make sure your topic title is interesting and consistent with your session description. This tip almost speaks for itself, but it’s not uncommon to be too clever with a topic title and have your audience not make the connection. They may not understand the session’s relevance to them and not attend, or worse still, they may rate you poorly because they expected something different.
Pitch to the right level. We have delegates covering the spectrum from beginner to advanced. Make sure your content is pitched consistently with the audience level you’ve selected.
Consider the theme when you develop your submission. This year, our theme is Service Management 2.0. Our workplaces and consumer expectations are already changing in a multitude of ways. What do we need to do differently to be a step ahead? How will our service management toolbelt evolve? If your expertise is outside the ITSM domain, what are the skills you know our service management practitioners and leaders need to be successful? What are the stories they need to hear, or learn to tell?
The Conference is the place to push boundaries with new material. The selection process tends to reward experienced presenters, which is why we try to give new speakers exposure at our state seminars and ask for a referral. For our experienced presenters, already popular at our state seminars, the national Conference is an opportunity to share a new angle or a new story.
Reviewer feedback will be your first test of the clarity and impact of your submission. I’m no stranger to how it feels when something so clear in my head isn’t coming through easily to whomever I’m sharing it with. It’s beyond frustrating. Work through those awkward misunderstandings, if they come up, because when the light bulb goes on, it’s rewarding for all involved.
Reviewers will be looking for all these points during the selection process, and how well you address them will influence your chance of selection. Good luck, and I hope to see your presentation on stage!
Find out more and submit a speaker proposal here.