Tips For Submitting Proposals To Conferences | Facebook Walk With Reid

by Reid on November 18, 2020

Tips For Submitting Proposals To Conferences | Facebook Walk With Reid







Reid: Hello sex geek! It’s Reid Mihalko from creator of  We are 58 days out from sex geek summer camp happening in West Virginia and that’s exciting.

As you sign on, say hi from wherever you’re at today and then also say if you’ve ever spoken at a conference before at a sex Ed conference or any kind of conference because there are a lot of different people who watch these videos and I’ve been just very happy for everybody who watches the business videos who’s not a sex educator, who’s been getting a lot of good stuff out of the business conversation videos. I’m trying to keep these you know kind of relegated to folks who do sex education or intimacy education or fall under that sex-positive entrepreneur, sex-positive professional umbrella but a lot of the business advice and tactics and strategies and just kind of ideas that we talk about apply to just business in general and how do you build a career and how do you reach people and how do you help people? And so for people who’ve been getting a lot out of those, that’s awesome too. So if you’ve ever spoken at a conference even if you’re not a sex educator, let us know. Just tell us what your experience has been, share….share with the audience.

But today, I’m going to talk about a couple of mistakes that I have made in the past for submitting proposals to conferences and tonight is the big deadline, the deadline for the National Sex Ed Conference and if you go to, the…the conference deadline tonight is…is midnight Eastern…Eastern Standard Time. So the first mistake is….is don’t wait till the last minute to submit your proposals. However, I’m just going to let you know that 60% of the submissions I’ve ever done we’re probably done on the last day so I don’t even heat my own advice but what I will tell you is make sure you know when their deadline actually is because if you’re on the West Coast and you think it’s midnight West Coast time and you’re you know you finally get home from your other job and you’re you know trying to bang out your proposal and boop! You’ve already missed the deadline because you’re three hours behind and you think you know it’s midnight Pacific time and it’s not.

So you know one thing is to just get really clear about your deadlines, put those deadlines in your calendar, put those reminders like in your calendar and then however you want to inspire yourself or hold yourself accountable or get a bunch of your friends together to kind of do a submission party where everybody shows up with tea and hot cocoa and beer whatever you’re drinking these days, coconut water whatever…electrolytes, Gatorade and then a bunch of you sit down at your tables with your laptops and you just bang out your proposals together, that can be really great and also kind of build community. And you can even do those little submission parties over Skype or Zoom or BlueJeans whatever video conferencing app, you can use Google Hangout. So they’re like ways for you to one, not feel alone and two, actually make your deadline.

If you’re like me and you actually you know don’t get to things until the very last day, don’t beat yourself up. I kind of know this about myself, I do feel like I’m thinking about my proposal in the background and…and I can just kind of regurgitated or spit it all out on the final day because deadlines just work like that for me so you know and like another point-five mistake this won’t be the big three, don’t spend a lot of time beating yourself up for not doing it sooner. Adding all that loathing and shame and guilt on top of the pressure of having to get done in time I just don’t think it’s really useful. So just love….love yourself for being a last-minute kind of person if that’s truly your thing and…and get it done. Get it done. Send it in.

Other mistakes that I think people make is they think that they have to do the thing alone and so I’m a big proponent for submitting discussion panels especially for me as a cisgendered white guy, panels can be really great because I can have them I can help invite a lot of different voices and please, please, please, please, please try to be mindful around diversity and inclusion and you know don’t just have… mostly I’m speaking to…to my white folk friends here, try to have a panel that is not completely all white people especially white cisgendered men unless it’s a panel about white cisgendered men which you could do. But you know try to get a lot of different voices and…and diversity in your panels because it just helps. It just makes the world a better place and again you know if you fucked that one up, you know apologize if somebody calls you out or calls you in on it and do better the next time. And again, it doesn’t have to be just race, it can be you know folks with disabilities, it can be people of size, it can be you know a variety of ages, it can be you know people you know with Ph.D.’s and people without Ph.D.’s and whatever like just be if you can be more creative and thoughtful about how you can make discussion panels more diverse, it’s a really powerful stuff and you know because you might be…there’s I don’t even know what the right word is for this, so…so whoever can help me out with them with the words for this let’s find the words but it’s almost like with shy people and extroverted people and is it mid….midtroverts or ambiverts? But like I think there’s kind of a person who just really likes typing and submitting proposals and it’s like they’re the extrovert of the submitting proposal world and so you have a privilege, you have the power to submit things and you know put proposals out there and you get to invite those…the introverted proposal people, the people who for whatever reason you know don’t submit a talk but you get to invite them to be on your panel to be on your talk.

So you know there…whatever that word is if there’s a word for that. You know you get to also be diverse and help get people’s voices into the conversations and the you know live experiences of others who might not normally get to be on a discussion panel. So this is really fun and interesting for me when I can get to do it. Sometimes I’m not organized enough. I’ve waited till the last minute so I can’t really submit a discussion panel because I need to find and get yeses from everybody. So sometimes, if you’re a last-minute person like me sometimes, you….the discussion panel is not going to work you got to put a little bit more forethought in planning into this but when you do a discussion panel and I think these discussion panels are awesome and super useful in great ways for you to also build your reputation and your career if you’re somebody who can give good proposal to create really good panels. So you know that mistake of don’t think it just has to be you doing your presentation solo you know always ask like “is there you know can I do this as a panel? Can I do this as a collaboration and how can I get more people’s voices into the mix?” So just…just consider that. I think that that can be really useful and it adds a lot when you can bring more voices in.

And another…another mistake that I have made in the past is and this is one I really have to thank the National Sex Ed Conference for because their proposal process is actually kind of….it’s a little bit tough like it’s pretty you kind of have to have your shit together. And you know they needed a Curricula Vitae or CV, they needed…because of the from the proposal process and the way that they like to have talks qualify for continuing education credits which is really big for a lot of social workers and sex therapists and certain people in education-based organizations. They have a really…it’s not like stringent but it’s a really detailed submission process so that they can figure out if your talk will qualify for CEU’s and what’s really interesting about their submission process is it can feel really daunting compared to other conferences where you’re just kind of submitting a talk and…and your bio and a picture.

So, the other mistake that I think slows a lot of people down is they’ve never submitted a proposal to a professional conference that requires a really detailed submission process and so the….the way I think you can undo that mistake is to submit talk proposals and discussion panels to conferences that are that are like that so because you’re like “oh my goodness. This is so difficult but what you’re really doing is getting better at the submission process so that you’re not so daunted by conferences that require you know you just upload your CV for you to have your learning objectives figured out you know and to really kind of cross your T’s and dot your I’s so that their organization can figure out if your talk qualifies for what they need. If you can get good at that kind of submission process, then it just makes you better at submitting and pitching talks to all kinds of conferences and then you kind of exercise your submission conference muscles and you just get stronger in those ways and you have more clarity for how you pitch your talk and for that alone I would recommend, if you’ve got time today before midnight Eastern Standard Time that you might want to take a swipe at submitting something for the National Sex Ed Conference. I love that conference. It’s awesome. The Center for Family Life and Education and Bill Taverner and the whole crew and I don’t even know all the amazing people that are helping put the…organizing committee. It’s the ice cream guy. The organizing committee is they’re just working their asses off but…but you might want to take a swipe at submitting your proposal or at least looking at what their requirements are so you can start to become familiar with that kind of conference submission.

If you can get good at this kind of proposal, you can do any kind of proposals and not be daunted. And then as a sex educator, it makes you even better at how you pitch your talks to colleges, to other professional organizational meetings. So it’s because of the National Sex Ed Conference that I felt really comfortable submitting proposal to a gathering of health professionals that work in colleges and that one for me was a really good idea as a sex educator because the thing I wanted to talk about and the topic was really useful for the demographic but also for the people who organize and run the health departments on college campuses, I, for the thing I wanted to talk to them about it was also a good positioning because those people would also be in charge of who they might bring in to speak on their college campuses during the year. So you know sometimes you can for some of you in doing these submissions, you’ll realize that there are business opportunities and ways for you to position yourself for speaking gigs and things like that. That’s a little bit maybe a little bit more advanced strategy for…oh, the dog scared me. It’s a little bit more of a…of an outside of the box looking at things from a strategic perspective but you know you get you can look for conferences and annual meetings, organizational meetings where people are or you can get in front of the people who want to hear and learn interesting stuff. Stuff that fulfills their need to get continuing education credits or units and you can put yourself and your expertise in front of people who might be making the hiring decisions for you know bringing speakers and educators onto their campus or into their organizations.

So I think a mistake is shying away from really complex submission proposal guidelines and stuff like that because you’ve never done them before. At some point, get good at doing them or find somebody who’s really good and undaunted about doing the submission process and bribe them with food, beverages, buy them you know, massages or something whatever expensive sex toys and ask them to help you. Because again, you don’t have to do any of these a lot.

I think I’ll stop there. I’m enjoying this walk. I needed to get outside. So thank you again everyone for giving me an excuse to get the hell away from my computer for a little bit even though I just leave my computer and sit in front of my phone but at least we get to go outside and walk around the neighborhood. I’ll check the comments when I get inside. I’ll…again, the National Sex Ed Conference, their link for proposals is The deadline is tonight and if you don’t want to submit something or you’re not ready, you’re not a bad person. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay. There are lots of submission deadlines I don’t make, I don’t get around to it. I beat myself up and then I try to stop beating myself up for being a bad person for not getting those submissions in. So please forgive yourself. Tell me that I can forgive myself as well and let’s not try to feel guilty or more shame about other stuff since our job is to help people feel…feel less shame and more pleasure in our advice so maybe we can do that around in businesses as well.

Also, if you’re considering coming to sex geek summer camp, then please go to  and….and register soon. We have a three-payment option that’s going away soon and so for those of you who need that kind of…if you need to break payments down to a monthly basis, please jump on that now because once I shut that….that off, it’s a pain in the ass to turn it back on. And…and we’re going to be busy putting together the biggest camp we’ve ever had. It looks like we’re going to have tons of people. I’m very excited about this and we got sponsors coming on that I’ll start announcing soon and I’m excited about that. What else? I think that’s it. So check out camp, 58 days out. People are getting their bunk beds and their cabins and those might run out this year. I think we….we’ve sold them out before so make sure if you want a room upgrade or a bunk bed upgrade you don’t want to be just attending and camping then, then register soon ‘coz that comes on our first case, first serve… first register first serve basis. And now it’s really windy so I’m going to let you go.

Thanks for being a part of all this today. I hope the conference talk that we just had was useful. Let me know what was good about it for you and any tips you have for submitting conference proposals. Leave them in the comments for everybody else and share this video with somebody guys. Bye!

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