Session Proposal Advice

Want a ‘Yes” to Your FNCE® Session Proposal? Here Are 10 Ways to Improve Your Odds

A Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo session proposal offers the opportunity to showcase your expertise. Assembling your proposal can take hours, and a rejection can be puzzling, especially when you have personally and professionally invested so much in your submission. The Committee for Lifelong Learning loves reviewing all submissions and wants to help make sure your proposal stands out in the way you intend. The CLL considers multiple factors, including member survey results from the previous year, representation across subject tracks, leadership priorities and trending topics. Consider these simple ways to help improve the odds of getting your proposal accepted for FNCE® next year:

1. Propose a presentation that has not been delivered before. FNCE® offers a global showcase for new studies and perspectives and therefore should not include sessions previously presented at a state affiliate, DPG or other professional meeting. The goal of FNCE® is to offer information that attendees are hearing and seeing for the first time.

2. Avoid any commercialism – explicit or implied. This applies to branded as well as commodity products.

3. Collaboration is key. Based on extensive FNCE® attendee evaluations, the preferred session format for a 90 minute session includes two expert speakers. The topics showcased at FNCE® are complex, so it’s helpful to have more than one expert share the data and application to practice areas. Session proposals require at least one Academy member expert speaker to ensure application to practice, while the second speaker may be a member or non-member eligible expert in the field. Although two speaker sessions are the preferred format, single speaker and panel discussion proposals will be considered, but expert justification is required.

4. Speakers will be limited to one session at FNCE®. If a speaker appears on two or more proposals, even on separate topics, those proposals will be considered in totality. If the topic is sought after by our members, an alternate speaker may be requested. Also, speakers who have not presented in the past two years are preferred to ensure diversity of style, expertise, and perspective in the program.

5. Include a separate moderator who can add context and depth to the session. Each session requires a moderator who is not one of the speakers. Choose a moderator who can expertly set the stage and best handle Q&A on the topic.

6. Think bigger. A proposal that presents a broader perspective – two hospital programs, two different states, two different approaches – is more likely to be accepted than one focusing on a single setting, pilot project, or study. Consider adding a colleague who brings a different perspective. How can your session appeal to our profession in unique ways?

7. Consider including supplemental information. Inclusion of a video or audio clip of a previous presentation or links to your professional social media accounts helps the CLL in their proposal review.

8. Do not forget to spell check. Proposals with incomplete thoughts or sentences (yes, this happens), missing required information, grammatical errors and other formatting issues are concerning. If details and presentation weren’t carefully reviewed before submitting, will the presentation also lack the care and detail expected by attendees? Do not get knocked out for lack of preparation.

9. Understand the odds. The Academy receives close to 400 proposals for approximately 100 session slots, so a good majority of proposals are not accepted just by sheer volume alone.

10. Declined session? What’s Next? Reach out to the Academy for feedback and be open to other ways to present your material – an Academy webinar, the FNCE® Learning Lounge, a FNCE® poster and other venues. Interested? Connect with us at cpd@eatright.org. Just because your session was declined does not mean the end of the road.