Answered By: Kristie Keuntjes, Learning Services Coordinator
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019     Views: 52

What is a conference proposal?

A conference proposal is your application to present at a professional conference. 

How do I write a proposal?

Each conference varies when it comes to the proposal process; however, here are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Determine the type of presentation for which you are submitting a proposal. 
    • ​​Poster session:  A poster session generally takes place in a large room and allows you to present your information visually.  Usually, you stand next to your poster and answer any questions attendees may ask.
    • Panel discussion:  A panel discussion is a formal conversation around a particular topic.  Several speakers take turns sharing their thoughts, opinions, research findings, etc.  Often, the discussion is followed by a question and answer session.
    • Roundtable discussion: A roundtable discussion is similar to the panel discussion; however, it has a more informal feel.  While there is usually no formal agenda to a roundtable discussion, there is a specific topic.
    • Concurrent session: A concurrent session is a presentation that is taking place at the same time as other presentations.  Conference attendees will be provided with a list of presentations and can choose which one they would like to attend.  Usually, concurrent sessions are about an hour long.
  • Once you know what type of session you would like to present during the conference, it is time to write your proposal. 
    • Include your name and contact information at the top of your proposal.  You should even include the name and dates of the conference.
    • Ensure you have a descriptive and catchy title.  You want to be able to grab attendees' attention when they are viewing the options in the conference program.
    • Include a brief session description/abstract.  This is a great way to get the point of your presentation across at the very beginning of the proposal.  Usually, these descriptions/abstracts are used in the conference program to describe your session.
    • It can be helpful to include a presentation method so the reviewers can can an idea of how your presentation will flow. 
    • Be sure to address your presentation's significance and relevance to the audience of the conference.
    • Keep it concise and to the point.  Many conferences have word limits when it comes to proposals.  Avoid overly specific jargon that may only make sense to a small audience.
    • When you are finished writing, be sure to proofread for any spelling or grammar errors.

How do I submit my proposal?

Each conference has its own method of accepting submissions.  Many conferences do accept proposals online and utilize a form for you to complete for your submission.  Others may accept Word documents or PDFs.

Be sure to follow the guidelines very carefully!

Here are some examples of conference proposal submission processes: 

Do you have any examples of proposals?


Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. (n.d.). Writing a conference proposal.  Retreived from

Walden University. (n.d.). Writing for publication: Conference proposals & presentations. Retreived from

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