Writing Stellar Session Descriptions


A lot rests on conference session descriptions. You know that you can deliver a great workshop, but how do you communicate that through marketing copy that will actually get people in the door, or to register in the first place?

Not a grammar guru? Writing not your forte? Kesselman-Jones can help you write that winning session description. Just ask your event manager for assistance BEFORE the information is due to our office. Want to take a stab at it on your own? Here are some tips:

1. Writing a session title that sells
Workshop titles are like newspaper headlines. It’s the first and perhaps only impression you’ll make on a potential attendee. You’ve got to grab their attention and make them want to read more. How many sessions have you seen titled “Topic” 101, or The State of the Industry. Does this really pique your interest? Consider the following session titles. What makes you want to learn more about the session and why?

  -Writing Session Titles 101
-10 Ways to Write a Great Session Title
-Standing Room Only: Writing Powerful Session Titles to Attract Attendees

Your workshop title should describe the benefit of attending and summarize the main point of your session. Therefore, you may want to consider writing the title LAST, after you have clearly identified the workshop benefits and written your description. Finally, keep it short (max 10 words) and acronym free.

2. Sizzling Session Descriptions
Think about the last time you attended a conference. How did you decide which breakout session to attend? Most likely you selected presentations that would benefit you, your job, your clients or your company. You asked, “what’s in it for me?”

The same goes for the individuals considering attending YOUR session. Your description must not only give an overview of your session, it must also create interest and generate excitement about your presentation.

Before you sit down to write your session description, take the time to make a list of the benefits attendees will receive from participating. Then, pick the three most important points to focus on in your description copy. You may wish to start with a compelling fact or statement, or a question for the attendee to consider. It is also important to let the attendee know if a certain level of knowledge or experience is required, or if the presentation is best suited for beginners.

Your conference session description will only consist of a few sentences, so it is important to make each one count.

3. Writing tips
Use the active voice and strong present-tense verbs when writing your description. Always define any acronym at first reference and avoid jargon. Stick to the length limit that was provided to you, or expect your description to be edited. And finally, keep it simple.

4. Most important tip of all
Your session description must match your presentation or the natives will revolt! Too often we have seen presenters submit one description and change their mind when it comes to the presentation. This is one of the biggest pet peeves of conference attendees, and with good reason. They expect session descriptions to be accurate representations of the presentations, and have scheduled their time based on where they think they will get the best return on their investment.