Seven Tips to Writing a Great Conference Presentation Proposal

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The Office of VSA and Accessibility at the Kennedy Center puts on two conferences per year, the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) Conference and the VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference. The calls for presentation proposals for both of these professional development opportunities are currently open, and we hope you apply! In order to submit the best possible proposal, we suggest you follow the tips below:

[Female, brunette VSA Intersections attendee draws while attending a visual arts workshop at the conference.]

[Female, brunette VSA Intersections attendee draws while attending a visual arts workshop at the conference.]

  1. Be relevant. Think about whether the topic you are proposing is relevant to mission and purpose of the conference.  If you aren’t sure, contact us.
  1. Write for your audience(s).  Your detailed description is for the people selecting proposals. Use that space to demonstrate the depth of the information that will be covered and the strategies that will be used to communicate that information.Your brief description is for people deciding which sessions to attend. Get their attention and tell them what they’ll learn from your session!
  1. Target your objectives.  Learning objectives are the skills or information that participants will gain from coming to your session.  Use that space to add detail to your proposal and describe the practical benefits of the information you are sharing. 
  1. Engage your participants.  Reviewers will be looking for strategies that will keep adult learners engaged.  Don’t forget to discuss this in your detailed session description. And think outside the box – creative engagement strategies can give your proposal an edge.
  1. Fill in the blanks.  Provide all information requested in the proposal submission form, including your confirmed presenter bios. All data gleaned from the proposal is useful for those selecting proposals.
    [Female LEAD presenter smiles while she addresses those in her session]

    [Female LEAD presenter smiles while she addresses those in her session]

  1. Quality matters.  Well-written proposals have a better chance with the committee. Show your proposal to someone who can make sure you’ve expressed your ideas clearly and double check your work before you submit.
  1. When in doubt, ask.  If you have any questions about proposal submission for the LEAD Conference, please write to access@kennedy-center.org.  If you have any questions about proposal submission for the VSA Intersections Conference, please write to vsainfo@kennedy-center.org.

We look forward to reading your proposals!

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