It’s that time of year again (actually a few weeks earlier this year), time to submit your best session ideas for VMworld for that oh so slight chance that it might get accepted. Believe me there is a chance, I was presently surprised and shocked when I had one of mine accepted last year. They haven’t published the timelines for the whole CFP process yet but below are what they were last year with the exception of the first one. And don’t forget, VMworld is in Vegas this year!
- Call For Papers opens March 16, closes April 12
- June 12 (+/- a few days) Speaker Resource Center opens
- June 23 Content Catalog goes live
- July 14 (August 18 in Europe) Schedule Builder launches
- 2 weeks prior to each show room assignments are announced
One thing I can’t stress enough is don’t wait for until the last minute and rush through it, plan it out now and write your submissions up so they are well thought out. From previous experience I can tell you to have a catchy title as it’s your sessions curb appeal. Many people won’t make it past your title and you miss a chance to interest them with your abstract if you have a boring and un-interesting session title. As a former content committee judge I can also tell you to spend some time on your abstract and don’t rush to throw something together without thinking it through. I’ve seen lots of session proposals that lacked any real detail about what the session was about. Here are some additional tips that VMware provides:
Tips for Creating Effective Titles for Submission
- Do not use abbreviations or acronyms under any circumstances in the titles of your submissions.
- Do not use competitor or other company names in your submission titles. If you are highlighting other companies within your session, you can adopt these names within the session description.
- Start with the Benefit: Ex: Shorten Adoption Time by Using VMware’s XXX.
- Use clear and concise language that attendees will immediately understand. The agenda will eventually host hundreds of sessions and attendees need to easily identify sessions of interest. Straight forward language like “Introduction to”, “Deep Dive” and “Case Study” are popular examples because they quickly tell the attendee important information about the session.
Typical Reasons for Abstract Rejection
- The abstract is poorly written—ideas are not clear, goals are not established, there are grammatical errors, etc.
- The content is not relevant to the indicated audience.
- The session value is not clearly identified.
- The session topic is not unique or overlaps with another more appropriate abstract.
Tips for Writing Winning Abstracts
- Avoid beginning your session description with the phrase, “In this session we will…”, or “In this session you will learn…”. It does not add value and becomes tedious on an agenda of several hundred sessions. Instead try a rhetorical question, or an interesting industry data
point to start your session abstract.
- Ensure that what you submit will be what you present. Nothing will upset attendees more than signing up for a session that is not what it is advertised to be.
- Your abstract should generate enthusiasm‐ make sure your content is relevant, but also generates excitement. What invaluable information will be shared during the session?
- Thoughtfully leverage the tags in the system for topics, level, and roles. Who is the target audience? What products or topics does this session cover outside of the track name? What roles would specifically benefit from this session? Do not check every check box if your session is applicable to all.
- Be Original – Attendees want to see new presentations that cover the latest innovations in technology. Take the time to create well‐written titles, abstracts, outlines, and the key takeaways for your submission. A thoughtful proposal will have a better chance of being
selected and if accepted, will be seen by thousands of attendees once published in the course catalog.
- Be Educational –VMware requires that sessions focus on the educational value of the presentation. Be sure that your proposal doesn’t sound like a sales pitch but rather an exciting opportunity for attendees to learn something new.
- Be Timely – Make sure your topic is relevant to the audience you’re targeting. Review the content topics before submitting a session.