October 6, 2017
The Aria office was abuzz this week with the news of which clients secured a coveted position on one of the industry’s biggest stages – HIMSS 2018. Considering the time and effort that goes into each (very extensive) speaking proposal, it’s no wonder the public relations team gets excited when notifications come out.
HIMSS is one of the few healthcare IT organizations that provides detailed feedback on each proposal submitted, whether it’s accepted or declined. After writing, submitting, and reviewing HIMSS proposals for almost two decades, the Aria Marketing team knows what it takes to get on the agenda. Below are four critical success factors for a great HIMSS proposal, which can also be leveraged for a host of other healthcare IT events:
- Secure a customer co-presenter who can speak to the real world application and benefits of your solution or service.
You have a great product, and that’s all well and good. But, if you don’t have an end-user willing to validate that on stage, proposal reviewers will bypass your submission pretty quickly. To appeal to the audience, credibility is king. In this way, a well-spoken customer goes a long way.
- Be strategic about track selection.
It’s essential that your proposal directly supports one of the conference tracks so it’s clear to reviewers that the content is relevant. Beyond that, keep in mind that some tracks are more competitive than others. To avoid very broad categories that are likely to have hundreds of entrants (e.g. population health) develop your proposal content first, then map it as granularly as possible to all available tracks.
- Tell a problem/solutions/results-oriented story that provides the audience with best practices.
For educational conferences (like HIMSS), attendees are there to learn how other organizations similar to their own are overcoming challenges. If you’ve checked the first box of a customer co-presenter, then a case study format is the way to go. This is your best chance of delivering a proposal that directly aligns with the objectives of the conference and that organizers can be confident will resonate with attendees. If hard results aren’t available yet – considering proposals are often due to reviewers well in advance of conferences – include anecdotes and other qualitative results, along with discussing anticipated or projected hard results.
- Don’t plug your company or product – anywhere!
This is the biggest misstep we see clients make with speaking proposals, and it is avoidable 99% of the time. There’s almost always a way to reel back promotional language in a manner that still gets your company or technology’s value proposition across while also being very informative for attendees.
In an industry where new companies and products are cropping up every day, the key to intriguing a proposal reviewer is to show how real organizations are solving real problems with a combination of proven best practices and innovative technology.
To learn more about speaking proposal best practices or Aria’s writing services, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.