What Makes a Good CMEpalooza Abstract

Not long after we opened up the abstract submission process for CMEpalooza Spring, the questions started pouring in:

  1. “What are you guys looking for in an abstract?”
  2. “Do I need to have a bunch of co-presenters?”
  3. “Is it better to propose a 30-minute session or a 60-minute session?”
  4. “Do you take bribes?”

The first three questions were all accompanied by the same well-reasoned, pithy response – “I dunno” (as for the last one, of course we accept bribes, as long as you expect nothing in return).

But really, I don’t have a ton of astute guidance to give on the abstract submission process. It’s not like we have any more influence than anyone else specific to the selection process – when the morning of Feb. 2 dawns, all of the abstracts that are submitted through our online portal will be posted on our website and the public voting will begin. You get people who are interested in the description of your session and vote for it, you are in. You don’t, you aren’t. This ain’t magic, people.

But since I hate to let down our adoring public, I did a quick analysis of successful abstracts from last year to determine some patterns/trends and offer some advice. Writing a good CMEpalooza abstract is a little bit different than submitting an abstract to a faceless group from a conference committee. You need something that is going to read well and sell others on your session.

For what it’s worth, here are some ideas that may or may not be helpful:

  1. Be creative. Come up with a catchy title, find a unique way to describe what you plan to cover, make fun of Derek. Any of those can work.
  2. Funny is good. Make someone laugh and they’ll read your abstract twice.
  3. Don’t overdo it with details. I know it can be hard to summarize your idea in 50 or even 100 words, but people don’t want to read Jane Eyre here.
  4. Spelling and grammar count. If you call your session, “Incorporating Patience Into Your CME,” I will make fun of you.
  5. Think about what you’d like to learn about. Remember that it’s an audience of your colleagues that will be doing the voting. What interests you probably interests them as well.

That’s about the gist of it. As you watch the snow fall this weekend, give some thought to how you want to describe your proposed session.

Oh, and I like cash (Derek asked for old t-shirts from your neighborhood 5K 3 years ago. He takes a large).

 

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