Session Proposal Tips
The following tips are guidelines for increasing your chances of submitting a successful proposal. Please note that while following these tips might improve the likelihood that your session proposal will be chosen for the conference program, it in no way guarantees that your proposal will be selected.
- Choose an appropriate topic — This is the most important part of your proposal. Choose a topic that will be relevant to a variety of incubation professionals. For example, most of our audience members are practitioners, so a presentation based on a research paper on business incubation is not a priority topic. Click here for a list of suggested topics.
- Read the instructions — Before you fill out the session proposal form, read all the materials on the session proposal information page. These details are provided to give you an accurate idea of what we seek in terms of session format, content, style, etc. The better you understand what we want, the more likely it will be that you submit a successful proposal.
- Know your audience — NBIA's conferences attract people from a range of backgrounds in terms of experience levels, incubator locations, program budgets and incubator types. Though some sessions are intentionally designed for a specific audience, many others need to apply to a diverse group of people.
- Provide takeaways — Focus on tools and techniques. Most of our audience members are practitioners, and they attend the conference to gather information they can easily apply to their own programs. We look for proposals that contain proven techniques and practical tools.
- Avoid the sales pitch — We appreciate that you may have useful, important services and programs you want to sell. However, an educational session is not the place to make a sales pitch. If we feel that what you are proposing is an advertisement for your company or program, we will not select your proposal. If you have a product you would like to share with our audience, please contact NBIA’s Director of Development, Sheila Buckley, at email@example.com to discuss becoming an exhibitor.
- Write the right description — Write a description that is specific and concise. Outline the main points you plan to make in your presentation in detail, but try to avoid extraneous information to ensure you stay within the word limits described in the application form.
- State your qualifications — While NBIA membership and previous speaking experience at an NBIA event could increase the chances of having your proposal accepted, we do select proposals from nonmembers and from those who have never presented at an NBIA event. Tell us about your qualifications – particularly your past speaking experience and what makes you an expert on the topic you are proposing.
- Pick co-presenters — Plan to have one or two co-presenters. In most cases, we prefer the sessions to offer perspectives from at least two presenters – though no more than three – to address the needs of our diverse audience. If you aren't sure who would make the best co-presenter, ask NBIA to help match you with an appropriate person.
- Check spelling/grammar — Please double-check your spelling and grammar before submitting the proposal.