Conference Season, Conferences, Kscope, Oracle, Oracle EPM

Preparing for Kscope: Writing an Abstract

What it is folks?! Happy Pre-Thanksgiving Day. While many of you probably have turkey, spending time with friends and family, the Macy’s day parade and football on the brain, don’t forget that abstracts for Kscope19 are due in a few weeks! However, no need to fret just yet my friends, I am here to help guide you through writing that abstract, so you can remain focused on preparing that favorite chair of yours so you can fall asleep at 6 PM after a long fun day (or maybe that’s just me…hey, no judgment)!

Now, if you’ve been lucky enough to present at Kscope or any conference, you understand that coming up with a solid session topic and then writing a sharp award-winning abstract with a catchy title, is the key to success. You also know, finding that solid topic can be challenging, writing that award-winning abstract becomes an unfortunate afterthought because of other work and family life commitments, and don’t get me started on that darn catchy title!

Finding a topic

Finding a session topic can be either simple or the most grueling thing you’ll have done all week! For my first ever Kscope session, finding the topic was a breeze because I had just finished up a Planning Budgeting Cloud and Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud implementation for a Public Sector client (gold, I know!). For my second year, the process was a little trickier, but I got some great ideas from the year before and settled on Enterprise Reporting Cloud. This year, however, I was at a loss. Not only is it now November and I am procrastinating like crazy, but I had to ask myself, do I continue speaking on the same comfortable topic or do I evolve, expand my horizons, and try something new? With so many possibilities in the world of EPM and BI, I decided to take the leap and try something new. The problem was, because of all the great vast possibilities, I did not know where to start! If you run into a similar situation, a great way to get your mental juices flowing is to start looking at possible ideas shared by conference track/committee chairs, shifting through project notes, and scouring blogs. For me, I’ve been working a lot with OAC Essbase lately, so I decided to create a session on OAC Essbase. Once you nail down your idea, you’re not quite finished; you need to figure out how that idea applies to a certain situation to make the presentation more relatable and grounded. For example, maybe you have a current issue which needs to be addressed. Or a case study that shows how a client used your idea successfully. Again, use those project notes, blogs, and your colleagues for ideas! Once you’re ready, it’s time to write the abstract.

Writing the abstract

This short-summarized piece of information is often the only sample of your work that conference organizers and selection committees will see, so it needs to be strong, concise, and able to stand alone. When your abstract is accepted, conference attendees will consider attending your presentation based on your abstract. No pressure, right?

Once you have your topic and how to address it, it’s time to give the abstract a go. There are some great blogs and videos out in “GoogleLand” that you can peruse for tips and pointers, such as Kristina Kasparian’s blog post on “How to write a conference abstract (or how NOT to write one),” or Danny Bryant’s and Natalie Delemar’s video on “How to Write a Winning Abstract” from Kscope 17. Here are a few tips that I gathered:

  • Follow Kscope’s abstract guidelines- Usually, everything is pretty standard but make sure everything is followed to a T;
  • Find abstract examples- Don’t be afraid to look at other abstracts from past conferences and try to figure out what made them successful;
  • Don’t edit after a few glasses of wine- Whereas writing after a few glasses of wine could be fun (or a disaster), you should always edit with a fresh (and sober) set of eyes. You’ll be more objective especially when you must trim your abstract.
  • Submit early- Don’t wait until the last minute, or if you are a procrastinator like me, you have at least a few more weeks (also be sure to read Opal Alapat’s blog from Kscope 18 “PROCRASTINATORS UNITE!”).

The last tip that is not commonly shared is to make time in your schedule to write. Every time I began writing on a whim, I would soon realize I had two phone meetings and a deadline that morning. Then I thought, no big deal, I can do it in the after…oh wait, I have another meeting, then I have to pick up my son from school, drop my daughter off at practice, run to the store, help my son with his homework, pick up my daughter from practice, prepare dinner, do laundry, and have a glass of whiskey! Before I knew it, I ran out of time and decided to do it the next day, except I had blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

Finally, you’re done!

When the abstract is complete, and you thought of a great title, it is time to submit. When it comes to the title, make sure it captures what your abstract is about and don’t be afraid to have a little with conference themes. However, don’t go overboard! A few of my Kscope title classics include “Hakuna Matata: Means No Worries, especially with Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud” and “Public Sector Financial Planning is a Breeze as a Government Agency takes a Walk in the Cloud with PBCS and EPRCS.” The first was from Kscope18, notice the Disney theme. The last title was a little long but notice how I capture the topic as well as have fun with some of the words like “Cloud” and “Breeze.” When the title is all set, and you hit that final submit button, it’s time to celebrate and have a glass of wine for a job well done!

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