Five Ways To Help Get Your 2017 IOUG Abstracts Accepted

Posted on 31-Aug-2016 by Craig Shallahamer,

Want a free pass to the IOUG/Collaborate conference this year? Get an abstract accepted and you're in! Sounds simple, doesn't it? It's not.

Just in the DBA Track alone, there will likely be a few hundred abstracts submitted before the October 7th deadline.

While getting accepted may seem impossible, there are ways to improve your chances of getting an abstract accepted.

In this post, I will share a few things you can do to dramatically increase your chances of getting one of the coveted IOUG Golden Tickets!

I've Said It Before

Conferences are big deal to me because they have changed my life... and I've seen it change the life of others as well. So, over the past few years I've written a few articles about the benefits of conferences and how to improve your chances of getting an abstract accepted.

Here's the list:

1. Be A Low Risk Submitter

Abstract reviewers are people just like you and me. They are busy and they don't want to select an abstract that will crash and burn. They do not want to hear, "Hey! Who gave a good ranking for that presentation!?"

Never forget that reviewers are looking for evidence that the submitter will do a great job.

What this means is, you should do everything you can to demonstrate you are serious about the conference and will do a great job.

2. Make A Stand-Out Submission

Now that you know Track Managers want low risk speakers, they will look for submissions that demonstrate the DBA will show up, be prepared and put on a great show with great content.

The best ways to let the Track Manager and the Reviewers know you are "low risk" is to submit your abstract with a "clue" title, clear and concise abstract and a logical outline.


The TITLE needs to catch your readers attention but not be so cute that attendees can't figure out what you want to talk about. Nothing ticks off conference attendees then going to a presentation and discovering it is NOT about what the speaker promised to talk about.


The ABSTRACT needs to clearly answer the question, "What is this presentation all about?" All it takes is a single paragraph. Don't write too much... or it will not be read. But don't write too little... or the reviewers and attendees won't know what you are going to talk about.

When I submit an abstract, I always try to state the problem I'm going to address and then try to summarize how I'm going to empower my listener to solve that problem. This way of thinking also helps me organize my presentation.


For me, the outline is a great indicator about how good the presentation is going to be. If the outline is clean, well organized and not to long, then there is a good chance the presentation will be the same way.

As a reviewer, if the submitter can't take the time to create a good outline, then why would I think they will take the time to show up and put on a great show for the attendees. A poor outline is a big red flag.

3. Submit At Least Three Abstracts

Unless you are involved with conferences, you will probably not have thought of this angle. Every free pass a conference gives away is less revenue for the conference and for the user group. There is a shocking amount of money that flows through Oracle conferences. Conference and user group leaders are ALWAYS concerned about the financial situation. So what?

This means that conferences are motivated to select less speakers. They can do this by trying accept two abstracts per person.

For example, assume there are 50 speaking slots and you are responsible for the financial wellbeing of the user group. Would you rather have 50 speakers, which means 50 free conference passes? Or, would you rather have 25 speakers each presenting twice, which means 25 free conference passes? It's pretty simple actually.

What this means to you is, you must submit at least two abstracts. But in reality, you should submit three abstracts so you have a better chance of getting two selected. NO ONE knows what will be submitted, so you can improve your chances of getting two abstracts selected by submitted three or more abstracts.

I usually submit six abstracts. Yes, it is crazy but it also makes it easier for the conference to select two of my abstracts. I want to make it as easy as possible for them.

4. Submit To Multiple Tracks

In many conferences there are track content overlaps. While conferences try and not have overlap, it is nearly impossible to eliminate.

You don't need to be sneaky about this or try and deceive anyone. What you can do is adjust one of your abstracts so it fits better into a couple of tracks. Personally, because what I'm good at is so specialized, this is difficult for me. But for most DBAs there is a pretty good chance you can do this.

First, you need to find out the available tracks. This year for IOUG, the tracks are:

Now with the list of tracks, think about the subjects you want to submit on. Ask yourself if your topics could possibly fit into two tracks. If so, then make the adjustments and submit them both!

Warning: Do NOT submit the same abstract to multiple tracks. That's deceitful and you will likely be discovered and band from the conference.

5. Submit Introductory Abstracts

As professionals we tend to think that we must present the most technically advanced stuff we know. However, from a conference and track perspective there needs to be different levels of technical depth.

In fact, introductory and intermediate presentations are likely to attract more attendees than an advanced presentation. And as a speaker, I would rather have 100 people in my session than 50... and so would the conference.

Instead of guessing what the conference would like, I simply submit the same core abstract but at two difference levels; introductory and advanced. Then I'm covered regardless of the level the reviewers are looking for.

Do yourself a favor, swallow your pride and submit a couple of introductory abstracts.

See You At IOUG 2017!

While the odds of getting an abstract or two accepted may seem overwhelming, experience has shown me there are some things within my control that give me an edge.

I hope you can make the IOUG conference in Las Vegas this April!

All the best in your Oracle performance work!


Start my FREE 18 lesson Machine Learning For Oracle Professionals E-Course here.

Craig Shallahamer is a long time Oracle DBA who specializes in predictive analytics, machine learning and Oracle performance tuning. Craig is a performance researcher and blogger, consultant, author of two books, an enthusiastic conference speaker a passionate teacher and an Oracle ACE Director. More about Craig Shallahamer...

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at craig at

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