Few months back there was a lot of activity on twitter and medium about conference proposals and how so many people had to face lot more rejections than acceptances. My experience is totally the opposite.I have a 100% acceptance rate for my conference proposals.
That doesn’t mean I am a brilliant speaker or my proposals are about the next hot topic that everyone are so eager to listen about.
If I mention the number of proposals I have made in total you would realise how silly the 100% acceptance rate looks.
Total number of proposals I have made in the past 10+ years: 4
Total number of talks selected: 4
If you guessed 4 coin tosses correctly in a row, it doesn’t mean you possess some supernatural psychic powers. It just means you were a lucky bastard.
My 100% acceptance rate was also just plain dumb luck.
It also shows something deep about me. I had proposed only 4 talks in my entire professional career. Which means I am just a coward who hasn’t done anything phenomenal.
If you are not getting enough rejections, it just means you aren’t trying hard enough. You are just going too easy on yourself. It is more rewarding to get beaten at chess against a grand master than getting repeat victories against a 12 year old kid.
Getting rejected after you have put in hours preparing the proposal document is depressing, I agree. But you will learn more from that single rejection than getting selected.
- You will realise that the hot topic you were learning about isn’t as interesting to others in the industry.
- You will learn how NOT to write a proposal document. Speaking about a topic and proposing to speak about a topic are completely different skills.
- You will learn how to write a proposal that is clear on what the audience’s takeaway is.
All these will only help to grow yourself.
And all is not lost even if your proposal got rejected. You can go to the conference and talk about the same topic during a lightning/flash talk. You will learn how to condense a 30 minutes talk to 5 minutes – which IMHO is even harder.
So my plan for the rest of this year is to get at least one rejection from a conference. And next year to get more rejections than acceptances.
Which conferences are you planning to propose next?
Also published on Medium.