Presenting at SAS Global Forum 2016 - Is my idea good enough?

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SmallGraphicSo you have an idea for a presentation for SAS Global Forum 2016. The idea isn’t earth shattering, but you did figure out how to do something cool in SAS. Still, you have a moment of pause. Questions abound. “Is it good enough? Should I submit it to the Call for Content? If I do, what is the likelihood of it being approved?” I asked myself these same questions when first thinking about submitting a presentation. When users ask me whether they should submit a topic for consideration, my answer is always the same: “Go for it! Your approach and how you used SAS to answer a question or implement a solution may be just what someone in the audience needs to learn.”

Improving your odds of acceptance

In the past few years, the acceptance rate of submitted papers has been around 55%. (This varies based on the number of submissions in a given topic area.) There are things that content reviewers look for in a submission. Your submission will have a better chance of being approved if it has:

  • An abstract that is clear and concise. The abstract can stand on its own and someone who reads it knows exactly what will be presented. Don’t be too concise in your abstract, however. A two-sentence abstract is not enough.
  • A draft paper or outline that shows how the idea developed, what the solution is, and how that solution was implemented.
  • Be sure to select the most accurate tags to describe your submission. Not only do these tags help reviewers select the right content, they are also used for by attendees to filter sessions as they prepare for the conference.

If you are a new presenter there are several things you can do:

  • Sign up for the SAS Global Forum Mentoring Program. You will be paired with an experienced presenter who can help you with your abstract and draft paper/outline.
  • If an oral presentation isn’t for you, consider submitting the session as an ePoster. The submission abstract and draft paper/outline still needs to be done well, but an ePoster allows for presenting one-on-one rather than to a large group.
  • Present your presentation at a Regional, Local or In-House User group and gain feedback.

Why user-contributed content?

SAS Global Forum prides itself on being a user conference. We love presentations by SAS developers and experts, but we also love having presentations by users who use SAS day in and day out. And the SAS developers and experts love having users present as well. Why?

  • SAS developers and experts look to the community to see how people use SAS, where improvements can be made, and what new things need to be implemented.
  • Sharing of information between colleagues is essential. We are all constantly learning. What better way to learn than from someone who has figured out a problem and can show you the solution?

Ensuring content reflects what users want and need

To ensure that the best content that users want is chosen, the content review is a peer review process. Three to five users with expertise in a topic or subtopic area will review each submission and give feedback. The reviewer’s feedback is examined by the Content Advisory Team, another group of users with expertise and the approval for presentation is determined.

Remember, reviewers need to have enough content to review. If content in a particular topic or subtopic area is sparse, the approval of the best content may mean very few presentations in the area. Then attendees have less content to choose from at the conference and in the proceedings.

I hope this information convinces you to submit your content for consideration. The Call for Content closes October 7, 2015. There is still time to submit your idea, pair up with a mentor if you choose, and improve the chances of having your submission approved. The first step is submitting your idea. Just imagine how great you’ll feel if your creative innovation is selected!

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About Author

Jennifer Waller

2016 SAS Global Forum Conference Chair

Jennifer Waller obtained a PhD in Biostatistics from the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 1994. She is an Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology at Georgia Regents University where she has worked since 1997 teaching, consulting and doing collaborative research. Jennifer has presented at SESUG and SAS Global Forum for a number of years and served on the Executive Council for SESUG from 2007-2013 and the Executive Board for SAS Global Users Group since 2013. She was the Conference Co-Chair for SESUG in 2008 and will be the Conference Chair for SAS Global Forum 2016. She has used SAS since 1989.

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