Other reviewers have also blogged about this topic:
- Elizabeth Zagroba ➙ ‘What’s You’re Missing in Your Conference Abstract: Spoilers‘
- Samual Nitsche ➙ ‘Why did my favorite conference reject my talk?‘
- Christian Baumann ➙ ‘Factors to make it into a conference programme‘
The other day a discussion about the review process of the Agile Testing Days developed:
Since I contributed to this thread and was a reviewer for this years programme, here’s my take. It’s my personal view and other reviewers may well have other aspects they focus on.
- On the conference page there are blog posts covering how to write a good proposal. I suggest to read them. This blog contains some tips as well:
- The conference offers a list of ‘hot topics’ which changes each year. If a proposal fits to this list it’s a plus, since this is a step towards a consistent conference programme.
- I prefer proposals that catch my interest, without telling too much about the topic. – If a proposal already expels everything well, time may be better spent in another session.
- A well written abstract text, that is easy to understand (for me) is a plus, too. This includes avoiding typos and grammatical mistakes. We all make them, and even the best spell checkers can’t catch all issues. But still, some proposals are really hard to understand due to language problems. Don’t let that get in your way of getting accepted. My tip: Get feedback by a native English speaker before (!) submitting. Many well known testers and speakers offer help and it is worthwhile accepting this help.
- Understand what the fields in the proposal form are meant for. Fill them to provided the information that is asked for,
Avoid repeating the same text in different parts for the form. Change the wording at least a bit. In some cases the title, sub headline, main statement and key learning(s) contained exactly the same or very similar text. To me as the reviewer this is a little bit boring, and doesn’t help me understand what the session is about.
- Sometimes, repeating is worthwhile: It helps to understand what is important. Use this tool carefully.
Some questions may guide to writing a good proposal:
- Will this help the reviewer to give me a high rating?
- Am I giving enough information to inform a potential attendees decision to come to my session?
- Am I giving too much information?
- Is this a good fit for the conference this year?
A leaving personal note: It took me years to get accepted at the Agile Testing Days, even for what was then called a ‘consensus talk’. In the very early years the proposals weren’t very well written, in some years I failed to match the overall conference theme. And then it clicked, I asked for help, gave workshops, a tutorial and, in 2019 even a keynote. For me it was worth the effort.
Good luck and may your proposals be accepted!
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