You should speak at HighEdWeb 2017, and yes I’m talking to you

Everyone else reading this article thinks I am talking to them, but they’re wrong. I’m actually talking to you. Hello! It’s great to see you. May I say you are looking spiffy today – is that a new jacket?

I just wanted to make sure you knew that you really should speak at the HighEdWeb Annual Conference this year. We will be up in Hartford, Connecticut, in October, just in time for the trees to drop their leaves and our presenters to drop some knowledge. And you should be a part of that.

Why? Great question. There are at least five reasons, by my reckoning.

1. You can be one person’s hero.

I’m not kidding; I’ve seen this happen. You could be working on the exact project that is currently driving someone else crazy. You – yes, YOU – could already be sitting on the solution to a problem that is giving another web team fits. And when that person finds you and your presentation, the gratitude that will explode throughout the conference room will shine on everyone in its path. I’m not kidding; I’ve seen this happen.

2. It’s the best way to meet new people.

When you attend a conference like HighEdWeb, with hundreds of attendees, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed, or lost in the crowd. But when you speak at a conference, two things happen. More people recognize you and remember you as one of the people helping to put on the show. And the people who attend your session – as well as your fellow presenters – become a smaller little cohort of sorts. You share, you learn, you laugh, you cry: it’s a moment of professional bonding that can carry over long after the conference ends.

3. You learn more when you are one of the ones teaching.

This is true for a couple of reasons. First, explaining your own work to someone else is a really great way learn it yourself, backwards and forwards, and to learn about the experiences of your fellow attendees on the same subject. And second – and especially if you haven’t presented at a conference before – speaking is a great way to learn, well, how to speak. Public speaking can be nervewracking, but the HighEdWeb audience is honestly just about the best audience in conferencedom. As web professionals in higher ed, we realize that we are all in this together. You will have a room full of people rooting for you, and wanting to learn with you.

4. Something new for the LinkedIn profile, amirite?

Plus, at HighEdWeb you could win the ultimate resume booster: the coveted Red Stapler for one of the best conference sessions. Awesome.

5. It’s crazy easy to submit a proposal.

All we ask for is a presentation title, a short abstract describing your proposed session, and a presenter bio. Basically an idea and a dream. And there are three different presentation formats to choose from. Most of the HighEdWeb presentations take the form of 45-minute sessions. We also have a poster session, where you would create a poster to describe your project or idea and then speak individually with people as they walk through the poster room. Think science fair for grown-ups. And finally – and new for 2017 – we have lightning talks. These are 10-minute sessions, faced-paced and fun and delivered one after the other to the entire conference audience. Oh, and all presenters receive a $400 discount off of their registration fee (limited to two presenters per session).

So yeah, like I said, it was great talking to you. I won’t hold you up anymore. The link to the HighEdWeb 2017 Call for Proposals is at https://2017.highedweb.org/call-for-proposals/. Deadline is Monday, March 27. Hit me up with questions if you’ve got them; I’m on Twitter at @LoriPA. See you in October!