Kathleen Powell, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, Executive Director of Career Development, Cohen Career Center, William & Mary
President-Elect, National Association of Colleges and Employers
It’s time to share your knowledge and expertise! You don’t know of what I speak? Check your inbox. On October 29, NACE announced the “Call for Proposals” for the 2016 Conference & Expo in Chicago! It is NACE’s 60th-year celebration and there is no better way to showcase your talent with the profession. You have until November 23 to submit your proposal, so don’t delay. That was my commercial to you and next I’m going to share what I know from personal experience!
If you’re like me, you might be thinking how do I start? What would I want to present on or about? Or, you might be thinking, “I’m sure everyone has a similar program to mine/ours.” Believe it or not, that may not be the case. If you want to contribute to the profession and build your professional portfolio, submitting and presenting at the conference will do the trick. I know, just because you submit a proposal doesn’t mean it will be accepted. But you won’t know if you don’t try. I know firsthand what it feels like to have your proposal accepted and rejected. So, here are a few tips to get you started on that proposal.
First, your title should be clear and grab the attention of the audience. Remember, there is a committee reviewing all proposals and if the committee doesn’t understand the message you are trying to convey, the membership may not either!
Second, make sure your topic is relevant, you clearly address the level of the audience, and that your objectives appeal to the group you are targeting.
Third, learning objectives should be clear and descriptive. What is your “hook” to entice attendees to your session? Write your objectives from the perspective of the learner. What would I as an audience member/participant get out of this session? Consider objectives that are action or results oriented. Words like apply, analyze, discuss, develop, and the like are more enticing then learn, understand, and know. When you read your own proposal, are you excited? Share what you’ve written with others, especially those who have an interest in your topic. During their review, if they have questions, see typos, or need clarification, you’ve already taken the first steps to rocking your proposal!
Fourth, show what you know! Don’t be shy. Your colleagues want to know who you are, what experience you have around the topic you’re presenting, and that you have the answers and solutions to the questions or issues that will be top of mind during your presentation. In other words, make your bio speak to your talents, experiences, and knowledge of your practice. Remember, colleagues want to know you are qualified to do the presentation and the content is solid.
You’ve got this. NACE has made it amazingly easy for you to develop your framework for your proposal. Check out the 2016 NACE Conference site, follow the design to submitting your proposal and you’ll find all the resources you need. There are 80 spots to fill for the 2016 Conference. One of them could be yours! Way better chances than Publisher’s Clearinghouse!