If you’re looking for ways to share your innovative ideas, unique strategies, or a new perspective within the realm of learning and development, we welcome you to submit a speaking proposal for a future Learning Guild conference! The Learning Guild will open calls for proposals months before the event, so be sure to follow along via social media or keep a close eye on your inbox so you don’t miss when open and close dates are announced!

In honor of the call for proposals for Learning Solutions 2023 opening next week on July 12 (through August 12), we want to share an in-depth look at the programming team’s selection process for their in-person conferences, as well as a few resources and tips from the experts themselves. We hope this article helps you in drafting your own speaking proposal!

The programming process

The overall session selection process typically takes about three weeks and begins right after the submission deadline. Each member of the team begins on their own by reading each and every session proposal. It’s a lengthy process, but this way each session gets viewed from multiple different perspectives. Then the question is asked: Can this session fit thematically for the event it is being proposed for? Yes? No? Possibly?

Then the ‘compare & contrast’ review begins. A spreadsheet with all the sessions is created and shared among the whole programming team. Discussion, debate, and additional context around the reviews is shared. The sessions that are not initially accepted are set aside as possible alternatives. Each session that is selected is put into a timeslot, filling the program. This can be a tad tricky when the number of sessions goes over the number of slots available.

Note: The status of each session is not final at this point! Life happens, and unfortunately, speakers can cancel their sessions at any time for a multitude of reasons. Sessions that had been previously set aside may be revisited in the future. With that in mind, even if you’re session is not initially chosen, the team may end up reaching out about getting your session on the program.

Then, the categorizing begins. Sessions are put into the tracks that fit them best. Typical tracks include:

  • Instructional Design
  • AR & VR
  • Virtual Classrooms
  • Learning Platforms
  • Data & Measurement
  • Management & Strategy
  • Emerging Tech
  • Games & Gamification
  • Micro & Workflow Learning
  • Tools & Development
  • Video & Media

Once we have the sessions categorized and slotted, we then look at balancing out each block. The key here is variety: we want each block to be rich with diversity. That being said, sessions are carefully placed into separate time blocks based on the track they fall under, speaker gender, technology-use, etc. Once set, the program is announced on the conference website!

Still not sure you're ready to speak?

Don't forget—all speakers had to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to start than at a Learning Guild event. Our community is supportive of newcomers, and our programming team is always looking for a breadth of different voices. Each event program is crafted with the intent of including at least 20% new speakers.

The call for speaking proposals for Learning Solutions 2023 will open next week on July 12 through August 12. If you’re even a little bit interested, we encourage you to try your hand in speaking!

Learn more about speaking at a future Guild event.