Position Yourself as a "Go-To" Resource

By Tom Crosley | Posted on October 22, 2018

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Everyone has someone in their office or professional life that they lean-on for advice or answers to tough questions. Or maybe it’s a familiar voice offering advice and encouragement on a group chat or message board? Regardless of where you go, it’s always comforting to have an identified resource to confer with when you have a tough problem. And believe it or not, YOU are someone else’s resource in the park and recreation world.

So why not share your knowledge and experiences with park and recreation professionals across the country next September at our 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland?

For those looking to become a resource to others and increase their professional involvement, speaking at the NRPA Annual Conference is a great approach! Becoming a speaker is a wonderful way to give back to the profession, build your resume, and become a part of the growing park and recreation community.

For 2019, we are encouraging new, interactive and innovative session formats, solution-based session topics and original content. Have an idea about how to “recession-proof” your agency? Maybe an innovative approach to on-boarding new hires? Have you had success positioning your agency as an essential service? Now is the time to share these solutions and more, and become a resource others can look to for help.

Here are my time-tested five secrets for submitting a successful education session proposal:

1. Familiarize yourself with the "lingo".

You’ll see a variety of words used in the proposal form. For example, know how to write a measurable “learning outcome”. This is especially important for new speakers hoping to break-through. These resources can help you write a complete and thorough proposal.

2. Draft it out.

Create your draft version in Word before using the online form. Prepare the required session description and save it to your desktop before you begin filling out the electronic proposal form. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Also, it’s helpful to have your biography written ahead of time for you and your co-presenter. Visit here for a sample proposal form and guide.

3. Include a variety of perspectives.

Invite appointed officials or allied organizations to participate in the session with you. This can add another dimension to your proposal and session.

4. Identify how you’ll connect with the audience.

No one goes to sessions to be bored. Make sure your proposal communicates how you hope to involve and interact with the session attendees and help them participate and share in the discovery of learning! Interactive session proposals featuring interactive session formats will receive priority consideration for 2019!

5. Try something new!

You don’t just have to create a lecture-style session proposal. NRPA and the Program Committee encourages innovative and well-designed sessions, with an increased focus on subjects that support the Three Pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation, and Social Equity. Specifically, we are striving to find energetic speakers to address the demographics shift in America, parks role in habitat and eco-diversity, and serving underserved populations.


Submit your session proposals by Friday, November 30, 2018 for a chance to win a free full-package registration to the conference.

Learn more about submitting your proposal 


2019 Call for Education Session Ideas