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5 Keys to Creating a Standout Session Proposal

  • By Andrew Deichler
  • Published: 12/13/2019


AFP 2020 in Las Vegas will be here before you know it, and we’re already thinking about the content at the next conference. That’s why the call for session proposals is already open.

But how can you ensure that your session will stand out from the crowd? Aurora Gregory, Marketing Communications Strategist and author of “Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating Irresistible Speaker Proposals,” recently joined the AFP Conversations Podcast and provided some best practices for how you can get you proposal ready for prime time.

The following are five key tips from Aurora.

Go over the proposal form meticulously so you really understand what is needed. “The first thing that I think is incredibly important is to take a look at what the proposal form that AFP puts forward. Look at it in its entirety before you even start writing. What is it that the proposal form is asking of you? That way you can understand what it is that you need to compose. One of the things that I do every year is make a Word document that mirrors what the proposal form looks like so that I'm very clear about what I need to fill in. I don't compose it within the form. I compose it in a Word document and then cut and paste it once I’m ready to go.”

Come up with a relevant topic. “One of the most important parts of the proposal really is the topic. As a practitioner, as a professional in your space, you have a very clear understanding of what some of the challenges are, what the trends are and what issues you're facing and dealing with. And if dealing with them, it's very clear that your peers are also dealing with those. Make sure that your topic is timely and on trend. The one thing you don't want to do is bring something forward that really does not fit what today's conversations are about.”

Pick a good title. “One of the most important parts of a proposal is actually the title. Sometimes titles can be very pedestrian and they have to be very functional. But if you can come up with some creative wording around your title while still having it fit the requirements for title length, I would really encourage you to do that. The task force is going to be looking at hundreds of proposals and your job as you submit your proposal is to try to stand out. And one of the first things they look at is the title.”

Use elements of story in your proposal. “A story is, in its most simple form, has a beginning, a middle and an end. And so in the description that you're creating, you want to be able to tell a little bit of a story. How does something start? What is the problem that perhaps you and your team addressed? And then what was the middle? What can share about your process? And then just a little bit at the end about, what the success was. What are the outcomes? Or what are the things that you're continuing to deal with? Those are those elements that really will make for a much more interesting session description, which is the biggest part of the text that you'll write for your proposal.”

Don’t wait until the last minute. “I have worked on proposals for the conference for a number of years and it is an incredibly competitive process. It's important that as you sit down to put that proposal together, to really put some thought into what you're doing. One of the worst things you could do is wait until the last minute to put your proposal together because of that competitive nature. If you are selected it really is a feather in your cap.”

The full interview with Aurora Gregory is available here.

The AFP 2020 call for speakers is now open and submissions will be accepted through January 17, 2020. Don’t miss your chance to tell your story at the most important event in treasury and finance. Individuals selected to speak get complimentary registration for the event. Submit your proposal today.

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