Sexta-feira, 5 de Agosto de 2011

Improving your talk proposals

There are currently 30 talk proposals for Codebits 2011.

Some of these proposals make us quite happy and proud, and the overall specter of topics is getting quite broad, which is great; a few of the proposals, however, still require a bit more work, and we know that quite a few people are still struggling with their abstracts before they submit them.

While we won't address the subject of creating a good abstract in depth (just search the web for a lot of useful pointers if you need them), we thought we'd address just a few ideas:

  • Opening line: the first thing people are going to read in your abstract is the first sentence, and that's your first opportunity (and sometimes the only one) to hold their attention. Your opening line should be catchy and address the problem or topic you're going to discuss. That's why so many great abstracts with a beginning such as "With the advent and widespread use of the Internet, more and more people have access to more information" lose a considerable part of their audience right there: it doesn't provide any new information, doesn't explain what the talk is about, and doesn't leave anyone curious about the following sentences.
  • Length: abstracts should be short, but not too short. If there's not enough information on the abstract to understand what you propose to discuss, it's going to be hard for your talk to get accepted.
  • Typos and grammatical errors: looking for typos can be done with an automated tool, and we recommend you do so; as for grammatical errors it might be very useful to give your abstract to a couple of people and ask them to revise it; you may be surprised by the subtleties that a second pair of eyes is able to catch. Especially when you're writing something in the middle of the night, it's very easy to mistake "to" for "too", or "your" for "you're" and "it's" for "its".
  • And the basics: make sure you have proper punctuation, a verb in every sentence, that what you say makes sense, etc. Remember: the way you write your abstract is the way one expects you to give a talk, so if your abstract looks messy, the other candidates won't have big expectations towards your talk, and will likely thumb it down.
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publicado por jac às 14:27
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