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Present at the Higher Ed Summit 2016!

By December 3, 2015

By: Nicholas Zinser, Director of Enrollment Systems, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs at Northeastern University

HE Summit 16The first time I spoke at Dreamforce, it was a session split between a nonprofit organization’s story and that of my institution. It was also held on a mezzanine level of Moscone South during the last time slot of the entire conference. If you’ve been to Dreamforce before, you’re asking yourself, “There’s a mezzanine level of Moscone South?” right about now. There is. Amazingly, we filled the room despite all of that.

Your future speaking experience at the 2016 Higher Education Summit, March 30-April 1 at Tulane University, will be different. The beauty of New Orleans will enhance your presentation and help spread your knowledge of Salesforce to a wider audience of dedicated higher ed professionals. And there’s no mezzanine level to confuse your attendees.

Your saga needs to start somewhere, however. And that beginning is with the crafting a compelling proposal.

The call for proposals for the Higher Education Summit is now open. I hope that you will submit a proposal for an awesome session on a topic that not only interests you, but will showcase an innovative practice at your institution. Here are three tips on how to build an engaging presentation:

Outline Your Story

Map out the journey you want for the attendees. What is the key theme you want them to remember? What is the scope and breadth of the saga you’re presenting? You can do this via a simple outline, or even create high-level bullet points for each stage of the presentation. I’ve used album titles to help me visualize this in the past.

Cut It Out

Built a great outline? Did you storyboard most of it? Great! Now cut out half of it. Editing your proposal is incredibly hard to do. You’re passionate about your subject matter. Your story is amazing. But when it comes time to present, you’ll easily go over your allotted time, and everyone will be left with an incomplete experience. Smart editing – removing duplicate or similar information from your outline – can help you trim down the overall presentation, making your proposal that much stronger.

The Road To Perfection

So you have built your perfect story, and then edited it down for clarity. Now you need to practice delivering it. If you don’t have a willing audience ready, you can prepare by talking into your monitor, a mirror, or a whiteboard. Either way, you’ll begin to develop the cadence and tone you’ll need to bring your audience along for this journey. It may take a few times, but you’ll see it pay results when you’re doing a dry-run with the team from

The 2015 Summit had themes around Advancement, Community Engagement, Recruitment, and Student Success. Think about where your story fits into a theme (even if it’s not one of those) and write your proposal now – the call for sessions closes on January 15th, 2016!

Despite this sales pitch, you may not be ready to propose something for this year’s Summit. If you would like to talk about presentation strategies for future events (the Dreamforce Call for Proposals will be here before we know it!), find me on the Power of Us Hub, the Success Community or on Twitter @nzinser. Follow @SalesforceOrg and #HESummit16 for Higher Ed Summit updates.

Submit a Session Proposal