Are you thinking about submitting a proposal to speak at ASSP's annual conference, but find yourself wondering what to talk about? Here are six tips to get your thought process flowing.
1. Talk about an emerging topic.
If you're interested in a new topic, other occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals probably are, too. Developing a presentation on an emerging topic is a great way to learn more about it, says Deb Roy, M.P.H., RN, CSP, COHN-S, CET, FAAOHN, corporate director of health, safety and wellness at L.L. Bean and ASSP's Senior Vice President. In her experience, a great way to identify these types of topics is to listen to the questions people ask during conference sessions and other presentations.
2. Predict the future.
Think about what you know is happening in your industry that will affect compliance or change industry practices.
"If you know a particular standard is being reviewed and will be changed in the next year, or if you're aware of something that will be coming out near the next conference, that can be a good topic," says Linda Tapp, CSP, ALCM, president of SafetyFUNdamentals.
3. Tell others what you did, how you did it and what you learned.
Success stories and case studies are great sources of learning in the OSH profession because people love to hear what has worked for others.
"When I start sharing what I am doing with others, it usually turns out there is a need in the profession," says Regina McMichael, CSP, CET, president of The Learning Factory Inc.
4. Take a new look at old safety practices.
OSH professionals are always looking for new ways to approach the tasks they perform every day.
"Get deep on a narrow part of your industry and approach it differently with respect to safety," suggests Abby Ferri, CSP, president of The Ferri Group LLC and administrator of ASSP's Women in Safety Excellence Common Interest Group.
5. Appeal to the masses.
Select a topic such as training that affects most OSH professionals in some way, Tapp suggests. Broader topics will often draw a larger audience, which is something conference organizers want to see, she notes.
6. Get to know your audience.
Once you’ve identified your topic, focus on making sure what you do is unique and will resonate with conference attendees, McMichael advises.
Check your social feeds to learn how other OSH professionals are discussing industry news and tips. Posts on ASSP's LinkedIn group and company pages also offer some great insight into which storytelling methods generate the most engagement and enthusiasm.
"Understand the audience you are targeting and be sure the approach is at the right level," Roy says.
Beyond these tips, the best way to ensure a winning proposal is to follow all of our submission guidelines and requirements when crafting your proposal and submit your proposal by July 17, 2019.