5 Days to an Amazing Presentation – Day 5 – Polishing Up

By Bruno Souza | event

Oct 22

This is lesson 5 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.

Congratulations, your submission is almost ready!

Just a few more finishing tips and adjustments to polish things up, and give you the highest chance of approval.

Adjusting for the WHO of the Event

You already have a WHO in mind to prepare your presentation. That can work great if you are running your own webinar or a solo presentation.

But when you submit to an event, it is important to think about the event’s WHO.

Think about the target audience of the event. Then, think about if there are sub-audiences.

Do the track you submit makes a difference?
Do the event have multiple audiences?

Look at your abstract, title and transformation.

Are there small adjustments you can make that will turn your submission more appealing to the event’s audience? If you submit your presentation to multiple tracks, how can you change it to better match each track’s audience?

Your presentation should be totally focused on the audience. The better you match to it, the bigger the transformation you can cause.

So, don’t be shy to adjust things to be more specific.

You Bio and Picture

You need to submit your bio — information about you, the speaker.

Your bio should be short, and include relevant information that shows you are the correct speaker for that talk.

Don’t try to cram everything you ever did. Instead, select some relevant experiences.

Also, I suggest that you write your bio thinking on the audience, and position yourself as someone that can help them achieve what they want.

Remember that phrase we did in the first lesson? The “This talk will help…”?

Some version of that referencing you instead of the presentation, works amazingly well.

Your bio should include a picture. Either send one, or signal that the event can use the one on your social media account.

But… Take a hard look at your social media picture, and make sure you have one that is professional and represent the image you want to present at this particular event.

Some events will ask you to fill out a profile with information like Twitter and LinkedIn, phone number, and other information.

Don’t leave things unfilled. The attention to details will show that you are committed to the event.


Have you considered speaking together with someone?

I just LOVE speaking with others.

Talks with more than one speaker are easier and more fun, and also bring great results to the audience and the event.

This is a good time for you to reach out to someone from your company or a friend, and invite them to join you.

Most event sites allow you to add speakers to your talk. Usually after you created the presentation. In some cases, your co-speaker may need to create an account at the site also, so, reach out to them to do so.

Type of Presentation

Events usually have multiple presentation types.

Types can be time related (15, 30, 60 min) or purpose (Tutorials, Panels, BOFs).

Sometimes, talks can be different parts of the event (Workshops, Mini-courses)

Some types of talks can’t be submitted and may be a decision from the organizers like Keynotes and Sponsors talks.

In the Call For Papers site you usually find a description of the talk types. Read them carefully and choose what is best.

If you think you have more chance in a different type of talk you can submit your presentation multiple times, with adjustments to each type. You can also just inform in the notes for the committee that you are willing to present that talk under a different format or time constraint.

There may be other information that the event request, like slides, links to blogs or past presentations, or for witch audience level you plan to present.

Things are usually pretty straightforward. Make sure you fill all the information, and refer to the help if you don’t know what something means.

Spelling and Clarity Check

Almost there!

Before you paste your carefully worded abstract to the CFP site, don’t forget to spell check it.

Tools like Grammarly (for gramar correction) and Hemmingway App (for style fixes) are huge help here.

Submissions with spelling mistakes are a sign of lack of care. Don’t do that.

Hemmingway App can help you make things clear. If the tool marks anything as hard or very hard to read, adjust it! The easy way to do it is to break your text into smaller sentences.

Another great way to check for clarity is to read your submission aloud.

If you get lost of stumble in words or phrases, change and simplify things. If you stumble, the committee and the audience will also! Fix things until you can read aloud clearly.

Make sure it is Submitted!

Last but not least…
Make sure your submission is REALLY submitted!

Some CFP software keep your submission in draft format, and require an extra step for you to do a final submit.

Check if your talk was submitted before the deadline, otherwise, it may just end up ignored.

Keep in Contact

Once your talk is submitted, don’t disappear! Keep in contact with the organizers.

Many times the selection committee will ask for clarifications or propose adjustments to your submission.

Those can be all the way from title and content focus (to better match the event’s audience) to type of talk (from a presentation to a panel for example) or the length (reduce or increase the time slot) or even change your submission to another track.

Of course you can agree or not to the changes. But keep in mind that the organizers will usually request changes because they want to approve you. Otherwise, they would just reject it…

Also, most events require speakers to accept the talk once it is approved.

Failure to act in any of those requests will show lack of interest, and may result in your talk being rejected or dropped from the event, even after approved.

Simple suggestion?
Mark the emails of the organizers and the CFP confirmation email as important. And add the senders to your contact list. That reduces the chance of any of those messages getting lost in spam…

Prepare and Deliver

Talk preparation and delivery needs to be another training altogether…

But, I’ll say here that once your talk is approved, it is time to prepare for it!

You may have something from a few weeks to a few months depending on the event and the timing of the CFP. Don’t slack it off, it is aways less time than you think!

While preparing:
Focus on the audience!
From early on, go talk with people!

Present early drafts and even early ideas to friends. Discuss things on social media, chat tools, webinars.

Practice talking about your subject, even before you have a talk ready.

This will give you the insights and understandings of what works and what doesn’t.

The best speakers practice presenting many times. TED speakers are asked to repeat the presentation 200+ times!

You don’t need to go overboard (unless you are a TED speaker of course!)

My suggestion is simple: talk (a little bit) about your topic everyday with someone. From today to the day of the event. If you will speak in a foreign language, talk about your topic in that language. A little. Every. Day.

REAL LIFE Practice!

No exercise today, because you should just apply it in real life!

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 TODAY (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.

Fill out the rest of the submission and your profile.


Submit your talk at the TDC CFP site.

Still have Questions?

Reach out, and I’ll help you.

Earlier today I went live with Yara Mascarenhas, head of the TDC event. We answered questions and talked about submissions and speaking.

Watch the replay here to help you finalize and submit your talk!

Hope you enjoyed this 5 days training!
Let me know what other topics you would like to hear or how can I help you in your career!

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

Go be amazing!
the “just submit it”-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.