Another common, conference CFP conundrum that many corporate communications professionals struggle with is whether to develop one speaker pitch packet (abstract, bio, and bullet points on what attendees will learn) for submission to all conferences that are of interest.  Those who follow this practice argue that reusing, or recycling, abstracts creates efficiency and reduces speaker prep time.  While I am certainly a fan of efficiency, I don’t condone repeatedly reusing the same topic pitch.  Why not? Well…

  • Each conference and conference audience is unique.  The sessions on the agenda should reflect the topics that are of most interest to conference attendees.  What might work best at one conference, may not be a fit for another. Across the conference landscape there really is something for everyone.  For this reason, each speaker/topic submission must be tailored to an event’s focus, timing, and attendees.
  • Conference organizers use Google.  They often search for the speaker’s name to find out how often they create thought-leading content and also may search for the submitted abstract or presentation title.  If they find out that the speaker has presented the exact same topic several times previously, the conference organizers may be less likely to include it on their programme.  Attendees are interested in learning new information, which is one of the reasons they are willing to pay for conference registration.
  • Every speaker selection process is different. If the abstract doesn’t answer the questions that are asked in the Call for Presenters (CFP) form, it will likely not be accepted.  One of the biggest complaints I hear from conference managers is that CFP forms are only partially completed or don’t answer the questions asked within the conference content guidelines.  Even a strong topic idea may be rejected if the speaker submission is incomplete.

Although it takes a bit more work, I would strongly suggest tailoring each speaker proposal to the targeted conference. Do your homework before drafting a submission and read the conference CFP guidelines. You don’t need to recreate an entirely new topic each time, but each abstract should be customized. It is important to consider the speaker and topic that might resonate best with the people in attendance based on the conference’s timing and focus.