Congratulations if you’re one of the over 300 presenters whose proposals for content were accepted for SAS Global Forum 2015! Now that it’s time to start preparing papers, posters and presentations, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about the Presenter Mentoring Program, an excellent service offered to authors planning for SAS Global Forum.
The 2014 conference was my first time attending SAS Global Forum, and it was my first time presenting. Although the new e-poster format provided a great platform for a first-time presenter like myself, it was still a daunting task to write an official paper and present a topic—especially for the uninitiated.
The Presenter Mentoring Program was developed to help presenters who want to improve the quality and content of their papers and presentations. The program matches up a less experienced SAS Global Forum presenter with someone who has presented papers on multiple occasions and knows the ins and outs of what's involved. I was lucky enough to get long-time SAS Global Forum attendee Lois Levin as my mentor. The help and support I received from Lois was invaluable.
The Presenter Mentoring Service is free, and there’s an easy online application to help you connect with a mentor. The mentoring program brings numerous benefits, and I’d like to highlight the ones I found most useful:
Content Review: Your mentor will want to know a bit about yourself and also about your topic. This way they can get to know how you work and the best ways they can help you get your message across to the audience. Once you know more about each other, you can get to work on your paper.
Submissions: Your mentor will be on hand to remind you of deadlines for when your paper is due. They can also help you plan a work schedule so you can meet the deadline. Your mentor may also give you a gentle nudge as time goes on to ensure you’re keeping the writing process on track.
Writing in ‘SAS Speak’: If this is the first time you’ve written a SAS paper, then you’ll need to learn the lingo! SAS and its products are trademarked, and you’ll be required to know your DATA step from your data sets. It is quite astonishing how much you’ll refer to SAS terminology in your paper, and you’ll want to get the wording right. Your mentor can help with this.
Proofreading: One of the biggest benefits I gained from using the Presenter Mentoring Program was help proofreading my paper. No matter how many times you check your paper, there’s always the odd mistake that creeps in. My mentor took time to proofread my paper numerous times and at various stages of its creation. With my paper totalling 16 pages that took some doing - something that I was very grateful for.
Connections: Another benefit of using the mentoring program is the connections and introductions your mentor can help you make. The mentors have most likely attended many SAS Global Forum conferences in the past and can introduce you to many members of the SAS family you may otherwise not approach or meet.
You'll also get to attend a preconference meeting for those who used the mentoring program. You’ll get to meet others who have used the service and share stories, tips and advice. It’s also a great opportunity to meet your mentor and put a face to a name.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Presenter Mentoring Program. Go on, give it a try! You won't be disappointed.