RSA Conference moves back to its “traditional” timing next year, taking place Feb. 29-Mar. 4 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. Quite naturally, that means Call for Speakers is back in the summer: watch for it to open July 15 and close on August 13. This is an incredibly busy time of year for many of you (who said anything about a vacation!?), so hopefully a heads up on this window of time will give you some flexibility to think of compelling submissions.
We have pulled together several resources that will be available next week on rsaconference.com to help you on your journey of developing a compelling speaking proposal:
- Sample submissions from 2015 sessions: Every year, you ask for rationale as to why some submissions got picked. This year we are sharing four actual submissions from last year. Take a look, and note the qualifications of the presenters and what was delivered. These four presenters were among the top rated 25 speakers this year, as determined by attendee evaluations. Learn from their success stories—not just with the actual submissions, but also on what they did afterwards, such as the updates they made to the presentations based on Program Committee feedback, the rehearsal sessions they participated in, and how they executed their plans. These presenters rocked it by committing to quality from the beginning through to the end!
- Submission tips: We provide a quick rundown of tips to help you best frame your submission. If I could emphasize one thing, it would be this: it is very clear what is written by an actual speaker and what is created by a PR or marketing person on behalf of the speaker. Your submission is not a marketing brochure—it is your opportunity to show the Program Committee that you are a passionate expert with a well-thought-out proposal showing in-depth insights that is unique from the hundreds of other submissions they are reviewing.
- FAQ: There are always many questions in and around our submission process. The FAQ will run through the main ones, remind you of key dates and deadlines, and highlight different opportunities available at the conference. Odds are high we answered your question here.
- Selection Tips webcast: Dr. Hugh Thompson, Program Chair for RSA Conference, and I will host a webcast on Aug. 4 at 10 am PT/1pm ET to talk though our recommendations and answer any questions live. Register and join us. A recording will be available for whoever can't make it.
We received a record number of submissions for RSA Conference 2015, and the speaker ratings were at an all-time high. It’s exciting to see the quality of the submissions we receive and the actual presentations that hit the stage continually improve. A successful submission and presentation relies on careful preparation.
Write to attract the right audience: this is a mature, experienced group looking for quality content. End user practitioners’ experience is particularly well received by our attendees.
Panels are not as popular (you have a much better chance of having an individual or co-speaker submission selected than a panel session) and really do not work with a lot of subject matter. If your proposal really is better delivered as a panel than 1-2 presenters (and think very hard about this!), make sure your submission clearly articulates the issues that will be discussed and the unique positions of each of your proposed panelists (don’t just slap names in there or worse yet leave the names of the panelists off!). There should be a reason each of those panelists is part of this discussion—different views (we don’t want a lot of nodding heads), different industries, etc.
Remember that RSA Conference content is selected by a Program Committee made up of industry experts—security professionals, scientists, technology experts, researchers, government employees, and attorneys. Two to three judges carefully review each and every submission for each track. They pick the sessions they think best collectively delivers a comprehensive view of the topics that belong on their track. They also review all of the resulting presentations in the month leading up to RSA Conference to ensure the content is timely and sound.
In 2016 we will have 50-minute traditional sessions, 50-minute Peer2Peer sessions, and we are expanding the crowdsourced session track. We’re working on some additional new content offerings and welcome any ideas from you, too, as we continue to innovate and find ways to uniquely meet the needs of all of our attendees.
Good luck—we appreciate your commitment to the security industry and furthering the education of the practitioner community. Check back next week for these documents and plan to listen in on the webcast. We look forward to a killer program in 2016.