As the RSA Conference speaking deadline of August 16 approaches, droves of individuals at security companies are working diligently on their applications. Here at Schwartz MSL it is our goal to help clients maximize their speaking program success. Among other services, we offer time-tested guidance on what works and what pitfalls to avoid when it comes to crafting a winning speaking proposal for key industry events like RSA Conference.
The Schwartz MSL IT security practice recently conducted research into RSA Conference 2012 sessions to best advice our clients on what it takes to earn acceptance in to the 2013 conference.
To further benefit our clients and all Tangled Web readers, we culled some interesting advice after listening to this year’s RSA speaking webinar. Here are the top three tips – straight from RSA Conference organizers – to increase your chances of being selected to speak at RSA Conference 2013:
Three Tips for Speaking Proposal Success
1.Be provocative or controversial: Everyone will be talking about mobile in 2013. Find something that will make the audience scramble to listen to your session.
Anecdote: Hold a debate. Nothing says controversy that two opposing opinions on a hot topic.
FACT: Only one in every five RSA speaking submissions is selected to be presented at RSA Conference.
2.Don’t forget the meat: Being controversial and provocative is great but you need to back up your statements with facts.
Anecdote: The best way to back up your short abstract is by including data. Judges love data!
Every company thinks their submission is original although chances are another speaker nominee has submitted a similar proposal, according to RSA Conference organizer Jeanne Friedman. The proposal that wins out in the judges’ minds is one from a candidate who is a true expert on the topic he or she wishes to speak about and one that shares valuable data that will help conference attendees with their jobs in the field.
FACT: Over half of 2012’s RSA speakers were new and had not spoken at a previous RSA Conference.
3.Ensure the speaker’s title and session match: Often times the speaker has a marketing title for a topic on security research from the company. These submissions are often thrown out almost immediately. Delegates at RSA Conference want to speak with the people who conducted the research not the people who market the research.
Anecdote: Avoid submitting anyone with a marketing title. Also note that RSA says speakers in the C-Suite do not have an advantage.
FACT: Many first time submitters use video to enhance their submission.
When crafting your submission, remember to think about the criteria on which it will be judged.
Four Judging Criteria
• Judges interest in topic
• Technical merit of the presenter
• Proposal in comparison to similar proposals
• Previous scores of the speaker
Also on the webinar, RSA Conference organizers outlined the following four changes to this year’s submission process:
Four Speaker Submission Process Changes
1.RSA has stopped publishing tracks
Why: Judges want to open the submission process to allow submitters to be as creative as possible. Topic selection is still important, although more general.
2.Addition of the quick abstract (200 characters)
Why: In the age of social media, presenters need to capture the audience almost immediately. The quick abstract allows presenters to peak delegate’s interest and entice people to the session.
3.Shorter session times (20min, 60min)
Why: People have shorter attention spans and based on past shows, organizers found that presenters could condense sessions into the new timeframe without losing value.
4.Justification of the advanced session
Why: Presenters are asked to justify why they have chosen to mark their session as advanced to verify that the session will be appropriate for an audience with nine plus years of experience in the security field.
Competition for a coveted speaking slot is fierce. Keeping the above information in mind, we recommend you brainstorm with your subject matter experts, determine a topic that the presenter is truly passionate about, and find a unique way to propose the topic. Good Luck!
Posted by Nicole Solera on August 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM