Why and how to present at a #highered conference in 2013

December 17th, 2012 Karine Joly 2 Comments

Raising HandsSince I started to teach social media marketing in 2011, I’ve realized that teaching is really the best way to learn (and keep learning) what’s really important about a topic.

When you don’t have the opportunity to teach in a physical or virtual classroom, presenting at conferences is the next best thing.

The regular speakers on the higher ed conference circuit know it. And, this is why they make a habit to present at conferences every year (that and the speaker discount ;-).

But, what about the other great members of our beautiful professional community?
What about you?

Why should you submit a conference proposal?

Let’s look at it from your point of view.

  • More interested in spending more time acing your projects than talking about them?
  • Not sure you have anything interesting to share?
  • Never presented before?
  • Too busy to write a conference proposal?


Well, I’m sure you can find even more excuses. I did when I declined my first invitation to speak in 2005 (“I have an accent” topped my list of excuses at that time ;-)

Fortunately, when Andrew Careaga asked me to come speak at the CASE conference he was chairing in 2006, I had gotten this out of my system (not my accent, though, sorry ;-). And, boy, am I happy I did! I’ve learned a lot over the years working on – and giving – conference presentations.

Speaking at conferences will do a lot for you.

It will help you learn more and meet colleagues with similar interest. It will also look pretty good on your resume when it’s time for the big promotion or the new job!

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed close to 30 proposals for the Higher Ed Analytics conference, and I was really torn not to be able to include more sessions in the program. I even kept the top ones on a waiting list and advised their authors to submit them at other conferences. We always need new ideas and new voices in higher education.

You’ll never be 100% ready to speak until you have to do it.

I dare you to submit a conference proposal!

So, why not get out of your comfort zone and submit a proposal for any of these 6 7 following fine 2013 conferences?

Want feedback on your idea before submitting your conference proposal? I’m happy to help!
Shoot me an email before December 19 and I’ll give you some.

The only case where you should NOT submit a conference proposal

I had an interesting exchange on Twitter with Jessica Krywosa about 2 weeks ago.
And, it looks like conference proposing can sometimes follow dynamics close to some dating practices.

Update: it looks like conference proposing is a lot like dating ;0) thanks @

Some might also propose, not because they want to do it, but as a way to reassure themselves – just to make sure they still “got it.”

The problem with this approach is the fact that people – volunteers most of the time for our higher ed conferences – will spend a lot of time reading, evaluating and selecting proposals. Anybody who submits a proposal should be ready to accept an offer to present. This way, nobody’s time is wasted :-)

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