Proposal-Form Improvements

We are really excited to announce a major redesign of the proposal form!

  • All proposal components (instructions, contents, persons, and terms) are now on a single page, with a navigation bar for jumping between sections.
  • Answers are now saved individually. (No more scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the Save Changes button.) For text fields, changes are saved as soon as the user exits the field or clicks the field’s save button. For all other field types (radio buttons, checkboxes, etc.), changes are saved immediately.
  • The proposal header is now “sticky” and displays the last date and time changes were made to the proposal. It also displays how complete the proposal is.
  • Incomplete / missing answers can now be easily identified with a handy new tool that highlights exactly which answers need attention.
  • Authors can now rearrange persons in the proposal (e.g. speakers, authors) and save them in the desired order.

We know change can be disorienting, so to make the transition to the new features as painless as possible, we’ve created a tour that walks users through the new design. A link to the tour will be at the top of every proposal for the next three months. There is also a permanent link to the tour in the Menu drop-down in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

New Feature: Add Yourself

We’ve been adding a lot of new features to the site recently, but haven’t been updating the blog to let everyone know about them. (Sorry!)

add yourself optionOne feature we’ve just added, though, is definitely worth mentioning: An “add yourself” option when adding users to a proposal.

Previously, if you wanted to add yourself to a proposal, you first had to search for your account in ProposalSpace, like you would when adding anyone else. It wasn’t much of an inconvenience (just one step), but why not streamline it? Now, when you want to add someone to a proposal, you’re given an option to add yourself or add someone else. If you want to add someone else, the process stays the same. If, however, you want to add yourself, just click that option and you’re done!

Session Titles That Shine

An abstract’s title, description, and learning objectives are the core of every presenter’s “sales pitch” to both reviewers and attendees. However, very few presenters have an understanding of how to sell their presentation using even the most basic marketing techniques. Perhaps as a result, 95% of meeting organizers report having to rewrite speakers’ submissions1.

ProposalSpace allows admins and review chairs to edit submissions directly or return them for editing and resubmission.

While organizers may have the best intentions when adding a little shine to a session, they also run the risk of overdoing it and promising more than a presenter can deliver, which in turn can disappoint the audience. So ideally, presenters would submit proposals that need little or no editing at all.

To help accomplish that, here are some tips for presenters (and organizers) when crafting session titles. (We’ve decided to focus on the title because it serves as the “hook” for drawing in a reader’s interest and leading them to the description and objectives.)

  • Keep it short. Attendees often skim over session titles to see if anything grabs their attention. A shorter title is simply more eye-catching. To check your title length, consider how easily you could use it to invite someone in passing to attend your session. If you cannot get it all out in a few seconds, then continue editing.
  • Target it to a specific audience. When writing your title, you should have a specific audience in mind. Craft your title in such a way as to convey what that group can expect to get from the session.
  • Employ intrigue. Spark the reader’s curiosity by teasing a short list, privileged knowledge, or a personal story.

Tell us what you think! If you ‘ve had particular success with title writing/editing, then share with us in the comment section below or on twitter (@proposalspace).

1Cobb, Jeff, Jeff Hurt, Dave Lutz, Sarah Michel, and Celisa Steele. “The Speaker Report: The Use of Professional and Industry Speakers in the Meetings Market.” Velvet Chainsaw. http://velvetchainsaw.com/pdf/Velvet-Chainsaw-Tagoras-2013-Speaker-Report_v2.pdf.

Snapchat Pro Tips

Snapchat has changed the way we think about video content on social media but has been challenging for many associations to understand and use for their audiences, while also being worth their time, energy, and resources invested into the app. Even still, it’s an important platform for associations to utilize as more people use Snapchat than Twitter, in terms of daily use. Disappearing content and unedited video are extremely popular with millennials, and Facebook, the most popular social media platform, predicts video content is the future of online engagement.

Here are the best practices we’ve found to work for associations:

  • Make A Story. While sending individual snaps would be an excellent way to engage users, creating snaps specifically for your story is a much more effective use of your time and energy. Your Snap story could feature a keynote speaker, poster presentations, networking event, or even lunch! Just make sure your story has an attention-grabbing start, solid narrative, and concise conclusion that drives your overall content strategy. In short, create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It is also important to note that quality is more important than quantity.
  • Let Someone Else Take Over. A Snapchat takeover is when you give your account information to someone else and they promote your brand or product in a new, unique way. Oftentimes, you are able to reach a much larger audience than you might otherwise reach by having an “influencer” involved. If you can identify a popular social media influencer, with commonality to your brand/industry, then you should consider having them promote your conference or event. Many influencers will work in exchange for free conference registration or their annual membership. Of course, they are also willing to market your function for a paycheck! If unable to identify a popular media influencer or pay one, then consider having different association staff/interns, members, or volunteers do a platform take over. (And don’t forget to change your account password after each takeover is complete.)
  • Create Geofilters. Geofilters are an excellent way to get your business in front of people and create brand engagement on Snapchat. They allow a great opportunity for users to engage with your brand who would otherwise not do so!

Snapchatps_snapchat_asae-01To the left is an example of a Geofilter ProposalSpace created and ran during the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.

Is your association on Snapchat? Comment with a great snap you’ve saved and any additional ideas you have!

Conference Live Streaming

Posting pictures after an event can engage your attendees once they return home, but what about engaging a larger audience—both present and remote—during your event? Here are some sites/apps that make it easier than ever to broadcast events, like major announcements, keynotes, breakout sessions, and panel discussions.

Periscope (Twitter)

Periscope LogoIf you’re on Twitter then you might have seen or heard of Periscope, an app that connects with Twitter to broadcast live video from from a smartphone, GoPro, or even a drone. Named the Apple App Store’s Best App of 2015, Periscope reinvigorated social platforms to focus on live content and even classify it higher in their algorithms. According to their website, Periscope is “the closest thing to teleportation” available.

Audience feedback can be sent to the content creator in real time via comments and heart images, which disappear after a few moments after appearing in the lower, right-hand corner of the video. Moderation of chat spam and abuse is managed by the audience watching each broadcast. Videos can either be saved indefinitely (now the default) or automatically deleted 24 hours hours after broadcast.

How to use Periscope for a speaker session:

  • Send out a tweet letting people know that you are broadcasting live. (Be sure to use the conference/session topic or location in the title of your broadcast).
  • Respond to in-app audience questions as they are asked, or write them down and have the speaker answer them at the end of the session.

Facebook Live

facebook-live-logo-vector-download-400x400Leave it to Facebook to quickly adopt a social trend and work incredibly hard to outdo other platforms. With Facebook Live, you can broadcast from your phone and your friends can comment and react using Facebook Reactions that slide across your video. Once you go live on Facebook, the platform’s algorithm places your video at the top of your friends’ news feeds, which can be huge for your live content and page. Once you end your live streaming session the video will be available for playback on the profile page of the account you used to film. You can even “boost” the video after it has been posted to increase views, likes, and comments.

How to get the most out of Facebook Live:

  • Thank users as they join and try to answer as many comments as possible.
  • Include as many social-media influencers into your stream as possible (with interviews, Q&A with live viewers, networking session footage, etc.) and tag them.
  • Use your conference hashtag in the title of the broadcast.
  • Keep it shorter. Facebook prioritizes live video higher in their news-feed algorithm, so unlike Periscope, many of your viewers probably were not expecting to see your content when they signed on. Keep it short to keep their attention.

Youtube Connect (Google)

YouTubeYouTube has been the internet’s video giant for years. Owned by Google, it makes sense for them to get in on all the live-broadcasting action. Live broadcasting is definitely not new on YouTube (it’s been available to certain users since 2011), but Google has been working to build out increased live streaming functionality for its app to compete with Periscope and others. This app update has not yet been released, but many are counting on it to up the ante for other live streaming apps.

How to increase engagement using YouTube:

  • Classify your videos into public playlists per conference/event.
  • You can record for longer periods of time on YouTube and still maintain viewership (unlike Facebook).
  • Embed the video into your own website.

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to live-streaming products, focusing on the ones we think will get you the highest engagement for your time and energy. There are plenty of other apps out there, though, many of which might be a better fit. Leave a comment and share with us if you use something else that has brought you great results or have additional questions about live streaming.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Charts & Graphs

Charts are charts, right? Wrong.

You have a lot of decisions to make when creating a chart, most of which seem benign. But some of those decisions can make a critical difference between providing insight into the underlying data and causing the reader to draw the wrong conclusions.

To illustrate just three of the ways charts can be made to be misleading, check out Ravi Parikh post on How to Lie with Data Visualization over at Heap’s Data Blog.

Where Is My Logout Button?  

Some of you may have noticed some changes to the design of the site. We’ve been working on new features and needed a little extra “real estate” in order to keep things from becoming overcrowded. Plus, the average size of monitors (even on laptops) has continued to increase, so why leave all that extra white space unused?

For details about what got moved where, see our Design Notes.

Tips for Effective Conference Proposals  

We just came across some excellent advice from Alessandro Angelini for how to create and present the best possible paper for an educational conference, including how to:

  • Find a suitable conference
  • Write a strong abstract
  • Write the paper
  • Prepare the presentation
  • Present the paper

You can find it at http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2010/11/03/angelini