Presenting at the NSPRA National Seminar

Crossroad for Innovation and Transformation NSPRA 2022 National Seminar logo

The National School Public Relations Association received a record-setting number of proposals for in-person and virtual sessions at the NSPRA 2022 National Seminar! Thank you to all those who submitted proposals. Notifications on proposal status were sent via email the evening of Wednesday, March 23. 

If your session proposal was accepted:

If your session proposal was not accepted, please consider submitting a proposal next year.  Selection for the limited available session spaces is very competitive, so keep in mind these 5 Tips to a Great Presentation Proposal:

  1. Know the Popular Topics
  2. Know Your Audience
  3. Know Which Format Fits Your Proposal
  4. Demonstrate Your Experience
  5. Follow the Proposal Guidance  

If you can't find an email notification about the status of your session proposal, please check your spam folder for an email from seminar@nspra.org.


5 Tips to a Great Presentation Proposal

1. Know the Popular Topics

One way to succeed with your presentation proposal is to choose a topic in which you have experience and expertise that school public relations professionals want to know more about. 

As you consider what to present on, you might start by asking yourself, “What have my colleagues asked me about a lot this past year?” 

Members' Topics of Interest

Next, compare your answers to the following list of topics that NSPRA members have already expressed interest in: 

  • Hands-on, how-to instruction for various communication tools, apps, software and accessibility features
  • Digital communication skills (e.g., video, social media, podcasting, photography)
  • Employee recruitment and retention strategies and campaigns
  • Guidance for managing a communications department
  • Leadership training for veterans looking to advance their careers
  • Customer service initiatives
  • Storytelling skills, particularly in a virtual environment
  • Writing skills, in general and specifically for speeches and scripts
  • Presentation, public speaking and interview skills
  • Sessions unique to the work of communicators in a BOCES, intermediate unit, regional education agency or county office of education.

Session Focus Areas

Each presentation proposal must fall into one of the following session focus areas:

  • DIVERSITY–PR/communication equity and diversity (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.)

  • ENGAGEMENT–Internal and/or external stakeholder engagement (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.)

  • ESA–PR/communication for Educational Service Agencies, Intermediate Units, BOCES, County Offices of Education

  • ETHICS–PR/communication ethics and law

  • LEADERSHIP–PR/communication leadership (strategic counseling, reputation management, relationship building, organizational dynamics, mentoring/guidance, professional development, etc.)

  • MARKETING–Marketing/branding for school systems (research, strategies, programs, campaigns, activities, etc.)

  • PLANNING–PR/communication strategic planning (research and evaluation strategies, coordination/management of effective programs, collaborative efforts, accountability/results, etc.)

  • TACTICS–PR/communication tactics (best practice strategies, programs, campaigns, tips, advice for implementation, media relations, COVID-19 crisis and vaccine communications, etc.)

  • WELLNESS–PR/communication wellness and stress management (school system programs and campaigns, coaching and self-care tips for communicators)

Now that you know what school PR pros want and how NSPRA may categorize your session, settle on a popular topic for which you have a lot of experience and expertise to offer.

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2. Know Your Audience

The NSPRA 2021 National Seminar attracted more than 1,000 in-person and virtual attendees. While the majority were school public relations professionals, dozens of school system leaders—including superintendents, assistant superintendents and some school board members—also attended the Seminar.

More broadly, here are some key demographics about NSPRA’s members based on registration data and their responses to a 2020 Membership Profile Survey:

  • 75% identify as female.
  • 80% identify as white, 8% as Black/African American, 5% as Hispanic/Lantix, 1% as multi-racial and 1% as Asian.
  • 73% work for a school system serving grades K-12 or preK-12.
  • 11% work for a  BOCES, intermediate unit, regional education agency, county office of education, educational association or state education department.
  • 41% are advancing or mid-career professionals with 5-15 years of experience in school PR.
  • 31% are veterans with more than 15 years of experience.
  • 32% are aged 40-49 (Generation X), 27% are aged 50-59 (Generation X/Baby Boomers) and 24% are aged 30-39 (Millennials).
  • 39% are their organization’s only school communicator.
  • 36% are in a communications office of 2-4 people.
  • 17% are Accredited in Public Relations (APR). 

The top 5 responsibilities for NSPRA members are crisis management, media relations, social media, strategic communications planning and writing/editing.

As you review these demographics, picture the target audience for your presentation: Who would benefit most from what you have to share? 

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3. Know Which Format Fits Your Proposal

In 2022, NSPRA will again offer a hybrid Seminar with in-person and virtual sessions. As you review the session options below, consider:

  • Which format would fit best with your presentation topic and style;
  • Whether you will be able to travel for the Seminar; and
  • The competitiveness for certain session types based on limited availability.

Both in-person and virtual-only session presenters will be asked to:

  • Pre-record session presentations in the virtual event system. Recording instructions will be provided at a later date if a proposal is accepted.
  • Participate in live chats with virtual audiences during the premiere of pre-recorded virtual sessions. If applicable, a presenter's in-person session and pre-recorded virtual session premiere will be scheduled for different times during the Seminar. Virtual chat instructions will be provided at a later date if a proposal is accepted.

Please note that all presenters, both in person and virtual, must be registered for the Seminar. However, you do not have to be a member of NSPRA in order to submit a proposal.

Seminar Session Options
FORMAT TYPE LENGTH DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE SLOTS
In Person Gold Mine 25 minutes x 3 rounds

Present a live mini-session on a program/best practice topic, with time for Q&A, at a table for 8-10 people during three 25-minute rounds. A one- to two-page tip sheet on the presentation topic is required. New in 2022, there will be two Gold Mine sessions back to back on Wednesday morning. Accepted presenters will be assigned to just one of the two sessions.

In-person Gold Mine presenters are asked to pre-record their session presentation in the virtual event system, in addition to presenting in person. Presenters who pre-record their session, based on instructions provided later for accepted proposals, will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Up to 40
In Person Skill Session 1 hour

Live lecture, panel discussion or interactive session with time for Q&A. 

In-person Skill Session presenters are asked to pre-record their session presentation in the virtual event system, in addition to presenting in person. Presenters who pre-record their slides presentation, based on instructions provided later for accepted proposals, will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Up to 60
In Person Special Session 1.5 hours

Live lecture or panel discussion with time for Q&A. Cover a topic in depth, but appeal to a broad audience. 

In-person Special Session presenters are asked to pre-record any slides portion of their session in the virtual event system, in addition to presenting in person. Presenters who pre-record their slides presentation, based on instructions provided later for accepted proposals, will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Up to 6
In Person Action Lab 1.5 hours

Live, interactive, hands-on, mini-workshop with strategies and tactics adaptable for immediate use by participants. 

In-person Action Lab presenters are asked to pre-record any slides portion of their session in the virtual event system, in addition to presenting in person. Presenters who pre-record their slides presentation, based on instructions provided later for accepted proposals, will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Up to 6
Virtual Only Skill Session 30-45 minutes

Pre-recorded lecture or panel discussion. 

Virtual session presenters must pre-record their session presentation in the virtual event system. Presenters will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Unlimited
Virtual Only Gold Mine 15-25 minutes

Pre-recorded mini-session on a program/best practice topic. A one- to two-page tip sheet on the presentation topic is required. 

Virtual session presenters must pre-record their session presentation in the virtual event system. Presenters will have the opportunity for live chats with virtual attendees during a simulated-live premiere of the session recording.

Unlimited

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4. Demonstrate Your Experience

As part of your presentation proposal, you will be invited to share:

  • The number of times you have delivered a professional presentation or training/workshop.
  • Your experience presenting at a NSPRA National Seminar, or if you have not done so, a reference who has observed and can speak to your presentation skills. 

Seminar planners consider presenters’ experience levels, and if applicable, past Seminar evaluations as part of the proposal review process. However, NSPRA members are all encouraged to submit proposals in order to gain professional development experience as presenters. If you have little or no professional presentation experience, consider submitting a proposal for a session type with more availability such as a Gold Mine and/or identifying a more experienced co-presenter to join you to ensure a stronger proposal.

Please note that NSPRA membership is not required to submit a proposal. 

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5. Follow the Proposal Guidance

NSPRA is seeking presenters who offer unique insights; effective strategies and tactics; timely information on new and emerging issues; useful, hands-on resource materials; and relevant content and experiences that meet the high standards and expectations of NSPRA Seminar participants. ​In selecting session proposals, priority will be given to sessions with NSPRA members as lead or co-presenters. However, NSPRA membership is not required to submit a proposal.

Any proposal with a vendor as a presenter must be submitted by a co-presenting school district or educational organization. The proposed presentation must not include a sales pitch for vendor products and services. NSPRA welcomes companies to consider sponsorship opportunities where vendor pitches may be made. Sponsorship opportunities will be announced later this winter. 

Information Required in a Proposal

The presentation proposal submission website requires a variety of information about the presenter submitting the proposal and any co-presenters (e.g., contact information, district/organization details, presentation experience).

It also requires information on the presenter's:

  • Desired presentation format,
  • Focus area and target audience,
  • Title and description for the presentation,
  • Presentation outline and methods, and
  • Learning outcomes that attendees will take away from the proposed session.

How to Submit a Proposal Online

When you visit the presentation proposal submission website, the submission process will begin with a welcome page and an opportunity to search for yourself in the event registration system.

  • If you registered for the Seminar last year, your name should come up.
  • If you did not register for the Seminar last year, you'll have an opportunity to add yourself to the event system. Please note that adding yourself to the event system here does not register you for the Seminar.

The next steps are to enter "Presenter Information" for the lead presenter and to accept the "Presenter Commitment." 

After those steps are completed, a "Proposal Information" webpage will allow you to view and complete all questions about your proposed presentation.  Click on "Save and Edit Later" to keep working on your proposal prior to final submission or click on "Continue" if your proposal is complete.

Then on the "Review Your Information" webpage, you will be able to:

  • Add co-presenters, 
  • Edit your proposal, 
  • Edit your personal submission info, 
  • Save and edit later, and
  • Click on a "print preview" button to print all of your responses.

You can go in and out of your proposal as much as you'd like for editing purposes up until the time you click on the final submit button.

Submission Deadline

Submit your proposal online by Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Multiple proposals from the same presenter are welcome. Session proposals can be saved and edited later before final submission, so start working on yours today!

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10 Tips to Earn Top Ratings as a Presenter

Seminar attendees are invited to complete evaluations of session presenters each year. Based on their feedback, NSPRA offers the following presenter tips  so you can earn top ratings from your audience. Watch a video about the tips below.

The Do’s

  • Do match your description
  • Do tell a story
  • Do give practical advice
  • Do provide takeaways
  • Do practice, practice, practice

The Don’ts

  • Don't just talk about you
  • Don't tell without showing
  • Don't read your slides
  • Don't offend your audience
  • Don't forget your target audience

 

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Questions? Contact NSPRA at seminar@nspra.org or (301) 519-0496.