5 Days to an Amazing Presentation – Day 4 – Abstract

By Bruno Souza | event

Oct 21

This is lesson 4 in a series, to help you better prepare to submit talks to events.

This training can be used to submit papers to any event, but this week we have a special opportunity to submit talks to The Developers Conference, that has a Call For Papers (CFP) open.

First lesson we discuss What is a Presentation.
Second lesson focus on Defining the Presentation Title.
Third lesson we create your Presentation Content.
Fourth lesson is all about Abstracts.
Fifth and final lesson we Polish things up and Submit.

We are now getting to the end of the submission process.

Having your WHO, the PROBLEM and the TRANSFORMATION, together with a plan for your CONTENT and the ACTION that you will suggest is everything you need to write an awesome abstract!

There are two pieces you will need for your abstract, and we will deal with both of them in this lesson.

Remember that this is an interactive process.
Discuss your presentation with friends, and incorporate their feedback!

Let’s dive in on Day 3 and build our abstract!

The Presentation Abstract

Every presentation needs to include some information to help the audience make a decision to come watch it.

The TITLE is part of this, and it should grab the attention and the interest of your WHO.

Most of the times, just the title is enough for the audience.

But for some people, they will want to make sure this is what they need. If your talk is about things that fit their particular situation. If what will be covered is not something they already know. Etc.

That’s where the abstract comes into play.

The abstract is a brief (2-3 paragraphs) description that should make clear WHO this presentation is for, what is the PROBLEM you will be discussing, and what is the TRANSFORMATION they should expect.

It should also have enough hints about the CONTENT that the person have an ideia of how you plan to help them.

Write the abstract with the WHO in mind. Talk directly to them, to the reader. Use “you” and words that connect with WHO.

The abstract is short, and you have just a few words to hook the reader’s interest. I suggest that you go directly to the point.

As close as possible to the first sentence, make sure you say something that will show the reader he is in the right place. That’s where the WHO and the PROBLEM are important.

If you show the presentation is for me (WHO) and will solve my PROBLEM, I’m hooked, and I’ll want to come watch it.

But if I read a few sentences and I don’t see myself nor the problems I’m trying to solve, I’ll look for something else to watch.

Last, but not least, you should mention the TRANSFORMATION.

A good practice (that some events even require) is to list some clear “take aways”. Those are clear results and knowledge people will acquire watching your presentation.

In your abstract, you should list 2 or 3 take aways.
They can be a list at the end of the abstract, or incorporated in the text. Take aways that are clear help the audience connect with your presentation.

Important: the abstract is PUBLIC, it will be published in the event site and the event materials. The focus is for it be read by potential attendees of your talk.

The Overview for the Committee

Many events also allow for you to submit a kind of “private abstract”, that will be visible only for the selection committee.

This is called different things in different events (overview, notes, committee, etc), but in all cases, it is clearly labeled as private to the selection committee.

This field lets you talk directly with the team that is evaluating your talk. And that contact is important to get your talk approved.

The goal here is to show the committee that you are a good partner and the right person to talk about the particular subject. Also, that your presentation is of high quality.

A few things you can add here that can help:

– how your talk connects with the goals of the event,
showing that you are focused on the event, not only in you or your presentation.

– why the topic is important or relevant for the event’s audience,
showing that you care for the audience and their success.

– the Escape and Arrival or other overview plan of your presentation,
showing that you have a plan.

– references to customers or success cases that implemented the solution,
showing that you have experience.

– Tools or projects you are involved with that are relevant,
showing that you are involved with the relevant communities.

– Previous talks, blog posts or articles your presentation is based on,
showing that you already talked and discussed the subject before.

Remember that the members of the committee are already reading your abstract. Do not simply repeat what you already said there.

This should be extra information showing that you know what you are talking about, and that your presentation will be awesome.

This section of the submission is usually PRIVATE, and only accessible to the selection committee. This opens the possibility for you to provide some extra information about your experience (customers, results) that you may not have permission to speak publicly.

Use it to build trust and give confidence to the committee that they are making a good decision in choosing you as a speaker for that particular topic.


Write your public abstract, focusing on WHO, the PROBLEM and the TRANSFORMATION. Use a little bit of the CONTENT to show the relevance.

Write the private committee overview. Focus on the event, and how important the topic is for the attendees. Show you know the topic by adding your escape and arrival and some info about real cases you implemented.

REAL LIFE Practice!

This is the time for you to create your first submission for an event using the strategies you learned in this training!

The Developers Conference (TDC) has a CFP open till TOMORROW (Friday, Oct 22).

Access the CFP site, create your account if you haven’t done it yet.
Write your title, abstract and the committee overview.
You can leave it in Draft format so we can finalize it tomorrow.

Create an account at the TDC CFP site.

Let’s talk LIVE about your submission?

Tomorrow I’ll be LIVE together with Yara Senger, at 11:30AM Dallas, 1:30PM São Paulo, 17:30PM London, to help YOU submit your talk.

I’ll send you the link later today!

Tomorrow, on the LAST lesson, we will work on the submissions itself.

Do you want to receive this training in your email? Join us and receive a free book!

See you soon!
Bruno.the “write your abstract”-man

About the Author

Software developers have a huge impact in the world, and can effectively improve the planet. This is why Bruno Souza is passionate about developer communities and has dedicate his life to help developers worldwide reach their true potential. The "Brazilian JavaMan" is a Java Developer at Summa Technologies, and a Cloud Specialist at ToolsCloud, where he participated in some of the largest Java projects in Brazil. President of SouJava and Director at the Open Source Initiative, Bruno believes Java and Open Source to be the path to career excellency for developers everywhere, and that taking responsibility for delivering software is the mark of great developers.