Submission tips for speakers

Increase the chance of your talk being accepted

There is generally a very high correlation between how much work one puts into the creation of a proposal and the chance that the proposal is accepted. Even a proposal with an extremely cool theme, entertaining title, and an experienced speaker may be excluded if the description is lacking. We have gathered some tips that should be considered when writing a JavaZone proposal, and a few reasons why proposals may be rejected.

Things to think about when writing your abstract

Create a good title

The title is the first thing people will see. A poorly worded title may be the only thing many will see of your proposal. A good title is catchy and concise, and should describe what you will talk about.

Write a catchy abstract

The abstract is what will be featured in the JavaZone program for the public to read. If the program committee doesn't believe that the abstract is good enough to convince people to come to your presentation, then the proposal won't be accepted.

Provide a detailed outline

The outline is your chance to pitch the proposal to the program committee. This section will not be published, but if your outline is thin or just a copy of your abstract, then you're not selling yourself well.

Be concise

With an exciting theme, it's easy to find many things one wants to present. Don't get carried away. Your proposal outline should explain how you will cover everything in a clear and structured manner.

Include supporting materials

If you've held the talk before, then please include links to any supporting material that you can show us. This could be video recordings, slide decks, blogs posts, GitHub repositories, photos, etc.

Fill out all mandatory fields properly

Nothing says you haven't put much effort into your proposals like a submission form filled with 'TODO' or 'TBD' in the required fields. This is fine for the initial submission, but please make sure the required information is filled out properly by the submission deadline.

Ask someone to review your proposal

If your proposal is full of typos, it will be noticed (especially in key fields such as the title). This isn't a point that will necessarily mean the proposal will be rejected, but it doesn't help your case.

Do you plan on doing live coding? Be sure to describe your plan to us

Live coding can make a presentation more entertaining, but it also increases the chances of something going wrong. If the program committee doesn't get the feeling that you have a solid plan for the demonstration, then it might hurt your chances to be accepted.

Send in multiple proposals

If you have multiple things you can talk about, then submitting 2 or 3 different proposals will increase your chances of finding a place in the schedule.

... but please don't spam us

The program committee reviews hundreds of proposals each year. A few well-written proposals are much more valuable than a bucket full of half-prepared ideas.

Do not shout

You will definitely be noticed IF YOUR TITLE IS ENTIRELY UPPERCASE (!!!!!!!!), but not necessarily in a positive way.

Why was my talk rejected?

Even though we are rooting for your talk to be accepted, the fact is that some talks must be rejected. Read through these tips to understand why this might happen. Even better, if you are reading this before the Call for Speakers deadline, you can go through your proposal and make sure you do your best to avoid these common pitfalls.

Not Enough information

The program committee was not sure what you're going to present, or there was not enough information about the technology/things you want to talk about to decide how awesome the presentation will be.

The proposal is too thin

The abstract doesn't convey the feeling that you have put a lot of work into it, or that you have thought through your presentation.

You want to talk about more than we think you will have time to cover

10-minute lightning talk proposals that appear to require double that time will be discounted. The same applies to proposals that try to cover everything possible instead of focusing on a specific area. If you want to cover a breadth of material, then be sure to convey to us that you have thought through the timeline for your talk. We must feel that you believe that it will work, something that can be achieved with a clear and detailed outline.

The abstract was not catchy enough

If the committee ends up with 600 or so proposals to go through, time becomes a factor. This is especially true in the first pass, and in the early stages. If your abstract catches the fancy of just one or more of the committee members, your proposal is likely to be thumbs-upped to the next phase. If not, it tends to drop out of the race early. It will help your chances to describe accurately and concisely what you want to talk about, and why people should come and listen to you.

The theme did not fit in with what we want to include in the program this year

Even though JavaZone has a place for many themes, there are some proposals that do not fit. Some proposals are rejected because we feel the presentation would be better served at a different conference.

Your co-presenter had a different proposal accepted

If you intend to present with a co-presenter, and she happens to have had a separate proposal already accepted, then we may have to reject your joint proposal.

You were unlucky

We often receive multiple good proposals covering exactly the same topic. The program committee then has to decide between these multiple excellent submissions. In 2016 we received many great proposals covering "how we do DevOps in the cloud". Limited space in the program meant that many of these ended up being rejected.

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