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Proposal Submission Tips

We’re getting close to the deadline for proposal submissions and thought it might be helpful to provide some tips about how to get your proposal accepted.

These tips aren’t meant to be exclusive to Open Source Bridge. We hope you will be able to apply some of them when you submit to speak elsewhere.

Have your own tips? Add them in the comments.

Read and understand our Call for Proposals

This falls under the general “know your audience” type of advice. Before you submit your talk, you should understand what type of content we’re soliciting.

Because we are trying to promote cross-pollination as well as provide space for in-depth discussions, our Call for Proposals is rather broad. We’re looking for:

  • Useful recipes for software development, systems administration, and working with open source. (Cooking)
  • Understanding how our systems work, in order to improve and extend. (Chemistry)
  • Building open source businesses that thrive. (Business)
  • Exploring how open source extends through technology into our communities. (Culture)
  • Tinkering, experimenting and bending the rules to make hardware and software do what we want. (Hacks)

You can read more about our conference tracks here.

Look over previously accepted talks

You can get an idea of what we’re looking for by reviewing the proposals we accepted as sessions for previous years (2009 talks and 2010 talks).

Be specific, but also clear and concise

Let us know the question and give an idea of the answer. Make sure to give clear details about the content of your talk.

Write well and use standard English

Use proper spelling, capitalization, grammar, and punctuation. Use the active voice. Proposals without these things are difficult to read. Our content committee has a lot to read through; please don’t make this process more difficult.

Provide a good title

A title can make or break a talk. It should be concise, yet comprehensible. Clever, but not overly so. Sparking curiousity is good, but make sure people can tell what you’re going to be talking about. If your title accurately reflects both the subject matter and the tone of your talk, your ideal audience will find you.

Explain why you’d give a good talk

You don’t need to be an expert, but if you are, let us know. Don’t assume we’ll know who you are even if you’ve given a bunch of talks all over the world. Also don’t assume that we won’t pick you if you’ve never spoken. Have you given this talk at a user group with overwhelming success? Let us know in your proposal’s Note to organizers field.

Spread the word

Open Source Bridge allows public viewing and coments on all proposed submissions. Advertise that you’ve submitted a talk (we even have badges for this) so that people can comment and let our selection committee know they want to see your talk.

Ask questions

Not sure if your talk would be appropriate for OSBridge? Have other burning questions that are keeping you from submitting? The co-chairs and content commitee are available to answer your questions: content@opensourcebridge.org.

Practice makes perfect

One sure way to test a talk is to give it to a small audience first. These include your local user group, a brown bag session at your company, or even to a group of friends.

Hopefully these tips will help your chances in getting your talk proposal accepted. Don’t forget that the last day to submit proposals is Wednesday, March 16th.

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