Webinar Recap: So you want to submit an NTC proposal?

Don’t miss out! 15NTC proposals are due Sunday, June 22!

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the recent webinar, So you want to submit an NTC proposal?  that was led by NTEN staff members Julia Smith and Bethany Lister, and community members Ivan Boothe, Lauren Girardin, Meico Whitlock, and Steve Heye.

Anyone can submit breakout session proposals

“Don’t assume that because you’re new or haven’t presented at a conference before that you don’t have something to contribute.” – Ivan Boothe

  • Anyone, from newbie to accidental techie to grisled IT veteran, is invited and encouraged to submit a session proposal
  • Presenters aren’t required to be at a specific career level
  • It’s okay if presenters haven’t spoken at an NTC or at a conference before
  • Presenters don’t have to be from the US
  • You don’t have to have all the answers — think about what conversations you can start or how you can share what others are doing

Take a moment to read about Impostor Syndrome, the concept where a person feels like they are not as impressive as their peers and therefore they will be found out as an impostor. Check out sites like You are Allowed to Apply and We Are All Awesome. Try to ignore any feelings of inadequacy and anxiety and think about what gets you excited and what you want to share. We want you to apply!

Why should you submit a breakout session proposal?

“Suggesting a session isn’t just about you being in the spotlight.” – Steve Heye

  • Pick a topic that you’re passionate about
  • It’s not just about you being in the spotlight
  • Recruit people to present with you, and you can all learn together
  • You don’t have to have all the answers
  • Create a dynamic and diverse panel
  • Understand that there are different paths and different versions of success
  • Help each other see different approaches to problems

Super session tips

“Think about ways to make sessions more than just a one-way conversation.” – Meico Whitlock

  • You don’t have to propose something you want to lead — you can propose something you want to hear
  • Think about what you think is particularly exciting, useful, and engaging
  • Don’t just expend your energy on putting together a session you think will get picked
  • Think about the concrete, actionable tips that attendees will take away
  • Create a session that is not just a one-way conversation
  • Figure out ways to engage attendees and to facilitate knowledge sharing
  • Have confidence to engage panelists and attendees in conversation
  • It’s okay if panel presenters don’t agree
  • Imagine a persona for your ideal attendee and try to create a session just for them
  • Fight between what you want to say and what the audience wants to hear
  • Know that audience size doesn’t matter, it’s audience passion that’s important

Stellar proposal tips

“Make sure you explain who your intended audience is…your audience is not the general public.” – Lauren Girardin.

  • Illustrate clear takeaways
  • Be clear and specific
  • Explain who your intended audience is and shape your proposal to that specific audience
  • Lookout for jargon and buzzwords but use keywords that readers will recognize
  • Submit quality writing
  • Watch out for typos
  • Make sure text isn’t cut off by going over the word count limits
  • Clearly convey who the intended audience is and what level of experience they should have
  • Boring titles can be okay as long as they’re clear

How NTEN will help

  • Guidelines! 
  • Connect with co-presenters
  • Provide speaker prep calls to relay things like venue logistics, AV setup, and public speaking tips
  • Speaker resources page
  • Connect with Tech Clubs and CoP to help test the waters with topic and practice
  • NTC Speaker Lounge
  • Discounted rates for speakers
  • Scholarships are available