2024 Proposal Guidelines


Special Libraries Association 2024 Annual Conference Proposal Guidelines 

Overall, it is important to clearly define the goals and outcomes for your presentation as that will clarify your expectations and will help attendees stay focused and engaged. Your clarity will make it easier for the attendees to absorb the content and carry back their new knowledge and skills to their jobs to put into practice.

To achieve that goal, it is helpful to proceed through a number of steps:

  • Identify how your topic fits into the conference’s overall theme (Collaboration for Innovation) and which track(s) it best applies to:
    • Leadership & Management Skills
    • Competitive Intelligence
    • Knowledge & Records Management
    • New & Innovative Technologies
    • Data Science & Research
  • Define the intended outcomes of the presentation and how will you engage the audience to keep them attentive
  • Identify the action or level of thought required of the learner (understand, comprehend, synthesize, compare and contrast, categorize, identify, apply)
  • Specify the benefits to be had from the new knowledge and skills – what are the takeaways that the attendee will be able to use
  • Describe the degree to which the outcome will be achieved
  • Identify how the learner will achieve the outcome

Think how the attendees will learn:

  • specific skills of…
  • identify tangible resources for future reference:..
  • utilize what other people have done (case studies)…
  • evaluate the strengths and challenges of different programs, resources, web sites …

Elements to be developed:

Title – think of it as your one-line elevator pitch to entice the audience to come to your talk. This is your opportunity to grab the attendee’s attention. It needs to capture their interest enough to get them to read the full description of the program.

Abstract – concise engaging description of the topic and what the audience will take away. Provide enough details to communicate that you know what you are talking about and that you have a plan on how you will communicate what you know to the attendees, as well as how you will accomplish that within the allotted time frame.

Generally, more detail is better so that reviewers will have confidence that you are going to increase attendees’ knowledge and skills by attending your session.  This is your opportunity to sell the program to the attendee – don’t overpromise but draw them in and then prepare to deliver at the conference so that they walk away impressed with your knowledge and leave with actionable items and have positive thoughts about you and the program.           

Speaker:  Select knowledgeable presenters who both understand the topic and can present their information clearly, concisely, and professionally, making sure to engage the audience with appropriate speech speed, tone, and vocal variety.

Format: Indicate if the proposal is for a podium presentation or a poster. For podium presentations, indicate if it is for a 30- or 60-minute slot.

Presenters must provide the following items after acceptance of the proposal and before the deadline (TBD):

  • Signed Presenter Agreement
  • Headshot photo
  • Bio
  • Presentation slides or handout. Speakers must use the SLA Annual Conference PowerPoint template for their slide presentations to ensure a consistent brand for the conference experience. This also avoids the appearance of overt selling and promotion by presenters. Presenters will be asked to provide their presentation slides to SLA ahead of the conference so they may be shared with attendees and uploaded to the A/V systems.
  • Signed release to SLA for future use of the presentation.


Members of the 2024 SLA Conference committee will evaluate proposals. It is advantageous if the proposal (if appropriate for the subject) includes audience engagement and parts that are interactive, as well as presenters being diverse. The committee will work to select the most relevant, engaging, and well-developed programs that meet the various needs, experience levels and interests of the wide diversity of SLA members.

The committee might reach out to you to make recommendations or suggestions about the proposal to fit the needs of the conference more appropriately.  We might also make conditions to accept your proposal, suggest combining with another potentially similar program, or revise title, abstract or length.


Speakers of diverse perspectives and backgrounds make for better education sessions. A wide variety of voices and perspectives challenge the audience to think differently about the topic. This variety generates far more dynamic and engaging discussions and better represents the diversity of the audience. Planners should make creating a diverse panel a primary factor in selecting speakers for sessions. For additional guidance, please see Guidelines and Tips for Promoting Diverse Speakers and Panels, a document created in 2020 by SLA’s Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Community (DICE) Community – https://www.sla.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Guidelines-for-Choosing-Diverse-Speakers-1.pdf


©2024 Special Libraries Association. All Rights Reserved
Special Libraries Association

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.