Tips for Submitting Speaking Abstracts to the 2009 PASS Community Summit

As most of you know now, the Call for Speakers for the 2009 PASS Community Summit is open from March 20, 2009 through April 10, 2009. Each year, the PASS Program Committee, which is responsible for selecting the sessions offered at the Summit, receives many more speaking abstracts than they can accept. If you want to increase the odds of being selecting, please consider the following suggestions:

  1. If you are not already a member of PASS, join right away. Membership is free and gives you access to the full contents of the website.
  2. If you have not already done so, complete your PASSPort profile.Complete is as fully as possible, completing the Profile, Community Activity, and Work Experience sections. Not only will you need the URL to your profile when you submit a speaking abstract, your profile will be used extensively as part of the speaking abstract selection process. When you go to the Call for Speakers website, you will also have to reenter some of your biographical information in the Profile pages, and this may seem a little redundant. But it is important that you do so.
  3. Be sure you visit the Call for Speakers Resource page and read it carefully. It provides sample biographies, sample abstracts, tips for submitting your abstracts, and most importantly, the 2009 PASS survey that tell you exactly what type of content PASS attendees are looking for. There is no point in submitting an abstract on a topic that is of little interest to PASS members. This survey is long, so you will want to take some time to carefully review it all.
  4. Besides the Call for Speakers Resource page, you will also want to check out the Resources for Speakers page, which lists many different resources for helping you become a better speaker.
  5. Next, visit the Call for Speakers website and begin the submission process by filling out your speaker’s profile. Complete the profile accurately and completely.
  6. Something that has been added to the Call for Speakers website this year is the ability to view abstracts that have already been submitted. Before you add your own abstracts, you may want to see what others have submitted. If you find that ten people have already submitted similar abstracts, you may want to find a more original topic.
  7. As you select your topics, ensure that they are topics of interest to PASS members (see the survey), fall in your area of expertise, and most of all, are topics that you have a passion for.
  8. As you complete each abstract, be sure that you select the proper Core Track and Target Audience. In addition, as part of your abstract, be sure you clearly state what the learning objectives are for your session, and how you intend to meet these objectives. The more case studies and demos you can include, generally the better.
  9. After you enter your abstracts, you have the opportunity to go back and “fine-tune” them if you like. In fact, this is probably a good idea, as a fresh look at your abstract after a few days after originally entering it may help you identify weaknesses in it that you can fix. But don’t wait too long, as once the Call for Speakers ends on April 10, 2009, you won’t be able to make any changes.

Disclaimer: I am a PASS volunteer in charge of Speaker Management for the PASS Program Committee. While I have been involved in helping create the Call for Speakers website and the Call for Speakers Resource page, I don’t have any direct involvement in selecting abstracts. That task is done by separate PASS Program committee volunteer members.