Like the weather, we complain about a lack of fresh voices at conferences, but what do we actually do about it? In anticipation of this week’s call for proposals, a few of us ran a workshop to encourage folks with limited speaking experience to go to Denver and kick some ass.
You’d have to ask those who participated in the Cranky Talk Workshop for New Speakers if we delivered the goods, but it sure felt like success.
Of course, we won’t get the real measure of success until early March when we see how many of the 14 students proposed Summit sessions, how many of those who proposed were accepted and how many of those who spoke truly kicked ass.
Everybody at the workshop learned something. I learned why some people don’t propose sessions:
Some people hesitate because they think they need to create an entire presentation before submitting a proposal. (I could never invest that kind of time because a majority of my proposals get shot down. I only build out the proposals that I know I’ll get to present.)
Some people agonize over their proposals. (Proposing should be the easy part; the real agony only comes after you get accepted.)
Some people get distracted worrying about what kinds of proposals reviewers are looking for. (I never figure out what reviewers are looking for, even after a conference is over. Worrying about that is like trying to make your car proud of you.)
Some people try to propose what they think they should be presenting. (What the hell is that, anyway? You should only present about things you find utterly fascinating. Audiences can tell when you’re passionate about your content and more damaging, they can tell when you’re not.)
Find your passion. Propose. Present. Kick ass. It is that simple.
First time proposing a session for the IA Summit?
If you have never presented at the IA Summit, we are particularly interested in what you have to say and how you can help us make the 2011 more interesting and diverse. And if you haven't had much occasion to present before, this is a great opportunity: We have a group of experienced volunteers eager to work with you one-on-one as you frame your content, coach you on its delivery and support you while you develop your presentation. So don't delay, propose a session now.