Tips for a Successful Proposal

Posted on February 28, 2016

The goal of the Conference is to present an broadly-based program that speaks to the wide range of attendees with a balance of theory and practice, inviting new ideas and concepts that may stimulate additional interest, involvement and educational benefit.  In keeping with ongoing membership discussions about diversity and inclusion, we urge proposers to use the conference sessions as an opportunity to include new voices and offer diverse viewpoints. 

What makes for a good session proposal?
As a rule, the more specific a proposal is, the better. Why? Because specificity demands a lot more thought and planning – and pre-event thought and planning are the two biggest keys to a successful session.

What does the Peer Review  look for?
The Peer Review guidelines include the overall quality of the proposal and:

  • Is the topic timely? Does it reflect current discussions in the field?
  • Is there new information being presented?
  • How broad an audience does this topic speak to?
  • Has the topic been discussed already or been repeated frequently?
  • Is there a speaker outlined that is crucial to the success of the panel?
  • Is there an effort to bring in new voices on the subject?
  • If a single presenter, does the proposal outline a clear perspective?
  • If a panel presentation, is a balanced point of view presented or are there other areas to be considered

What makes for a good title?
Cute titles are fun, but remember that your title is going to be competing for attention with dozens of other titles. So, the more direct / explanatory you can make your title, the better. For example, “Strategies for implementing sustainability into your organization” is a lot better than “Corporate Sustainability.” And remember, all titles must be 10 words or less.

Do I need to have other speakers confirmed when I submit my panel idea?
Yes, you do need to have other speakers confirmed when you submit your panel idea.  And please note:  Speakers may only present at the conference twice.  If your presentation includes speakers that are essential to the presentation, please make a note in your description.

Are correct spelling, grammar and punctuation important in my proposal?
Absolutely. You should take time to proof your entry before hitting the submit button.

How long is each panel/programming session?
All sessions slots are 60 minutes.  If you are proposing a 30 minute paper or report, if selected your presentation will be paired with another paper/report to fill a 60 minute slot.  Your presentation will still be 30 minutes, but will share that 60 minute session slot with another.

What is the difference between a panel discussion and a paper/report solo presentation?
“Panels” are typically two or more speakers discussing a topic onstage – sometimes with audience input. It could also be a smaller, round-table discussion directly between panelists and audience. Reports/papers are a lecture-type format from one expert.  Here is a breakdown of session types:

  • Report or Paper Presentation. Fully prepared papers/reports of 15-25 minutes each and may include a comment-and-discussion period.  Presentations are scheduled for 30 minute slots.
  • Panel Discussion. A 60 minute session consisting of a panel of three to four individuals who discuss a variety of theories or perspectives on the given topic.
  • Incubator Session. Open session of 60 minutes, consisting of two presentations of ten minutes each that describe project, research, or collaboration initiatives in their developing or formative stages, and including at least forty minutes for audience feedback and discussion.
  • Skillshare Session.  A 60 minute session of informal presentations on a general subject area, where participants share what they know.  Proposals in this category must include a facilitator who will coordinate the session and any discussion.
  • Lightning Talks. 9-10 lively and informative five-minute talks in a sixty-minute Lightning Talk session format. The session chair secures commitments from speakers and compiles all presentation slides to ensure timely speaker transitions. Proposals in this category may suggest recommended presenters, but commitments should be secured soon after the proposal is accepted.  Talk session should be on a focused topic.
  • Alternative Format. Suggest an alternative or create your own. Alternative format sessions may take a variety of forms. Propose a moderated debate offering opposing points of view, or an “experiential” format involving simulation, role play, or games to convey key principles and learning objectives. We welcome your creative ideas about how your topic might best be addressed – the only caveat is that most rooms are set theatre style for the sessions. Proposals in this category must: 1) specify the format and session facilitator and 2) describe briefly how the format will enhance presentation of the material.

What is the difference between a session and a workshop?
Workshops are half day or full day training usually designed to teach or refine skill.  They are offered at a separate registration rate and must meet minimum attendance requirements.  Typically, they are scheduled on the Tuesday or Wednesday preceding the conference.

If my proposal is selected, what kind of preparation work will I need to devote to my panel or presentation?
As a general rule, the more pre-event preparation you devote to your session, the better the session will be. Pre-event preparation means communicating with other speakers before the event to clarify the focus and structure of the session.

Who can propose sessions and workshops?
Anyone can submit a proposal for a session or workshop.  Proposals can come from members or non-members, suppliers, vendors, academics, researchers, archivists .. anyone working in the field.

If my idea is selected, does AMIA pay for my registration, travel, and lodging?
AMIA does not  provide travel, lodging or other financial compensation for panelists. If you are a non-member coming to the conference to speak on a panel, AMIA will offer you a complimentary one-day registration for the day you are speaking.

What equipment can speakers expect to have at their sessions?
Each room will be equipped with a microphone, powerpoint capability and wireless Internet connection. We do not supply laptops.

How many people are expected to attend AMIA?
We are expecting between 550 and 650 people to attend AMIA 2016.

As a vendor or supplier, can I submit a proposal?
Of course!  While all sessions are non-commercial and cannot focus on a specific product or service, we have had truly excellent presentations and case studies from our vendor and supplier partners.

The Proposal Selection Process

Who will be reviewing session proposals?
All proposals are peer-reviewed.  Proposals will be peer reviewed by a panel chosen in a broad range of expertise from the AMIA membership. The Conference Committee uses the ratings from the Peer Review Panel to schedule the conference.

Do the categories I check matter?
Absolutely they do.  The Committee uses the peer-review notes to program the best balance of sessions and workshops.  The categories you check will help the reviewers consider their comments, and will help the Conference Committee in balancing the final program.

Session Proposal Timeline

Do I receive any kind of receipt letter when I submit a session?
Yes, after you submit your proposal online you will be sent a receipt letter within a few days indicating that either the proposal is complete or additional information is needed.

When will I learn about the status of my proposal?
We plan to make final decisions about session proposals by the end of June and will notify you then of the outcome.

Time Commitment

If my session proposal is accepted, how much work does this require?
The best panels and presentations are the ones where the organizer devotes time to organizing their session and discussions with their speakers.

What if I want to propose a poster?

Poster presentations will have a separate call for proposals.  Please watch for the call or check back here for more information by early June.