In light of my previous post, I hope it’s clear that I think it can be really useful to post a conference presentation proposal before the actual conference. So it follows that I hope other presenters will follow this lead. My (most unlikely) hope is for three results:
1. People will make more informed choices about the presentations they attend. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what some of those ridiculously obscure presentation titles were actually going to cover? Two presentations that both sound good? Interested in someone’s work, but not sure if their presentation will be relevant to you? I’m not saying having presentation proposals posted would address all of these issues, but it might be a start. It would also allow people to ask questions to clarify one or more of your points.
2. Allow better access for those people unable to attend your presentation. Every conference I attend, there’s a scheduling conflict. Two presentations I want to see at the same time. A posted proposal might foster some sort of discussion regarding your presentation as people comment back and forth on you post. Also, there are always questions to be asked. And if you’ve run out of time, or someone just doesn’t want to pose their question publicly, a blog post is a perfect place for that to happen. People can also ask for clarification. People might see offer gentle corrections, encouragement, new connections, or extensions of your idea. I could keep going here, but I’ll spare you.
3. There might be more buzz about and during the conference. This one is purely selfish. I want you to post your presentation proposal so I attend a more invigorating and buzzy conference.
So there you have it. Three damn good reasons to post your presentation proposal. There are more. People might offer ideas about content, approach, or format that helps you shape your presentation. People might warn you about previously covered material. People might recognize you as a potential discourse participant. Regardless of your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your prayers. Post, bloggers. What harm can it do?