I regularly attend the American Counseling Associations annual conference. I also regularly apply to be a presenter, but up until this year had not been successful at getting picked. I figured that the key to a winning proposal was just like everything else in this world; you had to come up with something good. So good in fact, that the person reading the proposal says “I’m picking this one because I really want to see this one myself!”
Of course, the next question is always “But how do I do that?” The presentation topic must be unique, but also mainstream enough that most people have an interest in it. On top of that, it’s not enough to simply come up with a winning idea. The topic also has to be something that you are knowledgeable about have some kind of personal stake in. It’s a very fine line to walk, and I attempted to walk that line unsuccessfully for years.
The idea finally came to me last Spring. Workplace bullying was a topic that I, and probably most people in our field, could personally relate to, and yet no one seemed to be talking about it. I submitted my proposal for a 90 minute presentation in April and received confirmation that I had been approved in August. Come October I received another email stating that they had giving my a prime time slot on Saturday. They would also be video tapping and livecasting my presentation. Well then..
Obviously I was very excited and honored, but also very nervous. I’ve done presentations and public speaking before, but not like this. This is something new for me and there are immediate fears of technical difficulties and being left standing there not knowing what to say. As of this writing, my presentation is finished, I just need to practice it. And practice I will!
Hopefully some regular readers will be in the audience. And of course, once it’s all over, I plan to write a follow-up post to give you the inside scoop on the process for anyone interested in presenting at the ACA themselves.