We know it seems like the 2017 BIO International Convention was just yesterday. But at CanaleComm, we’re already in the heat of planning for next year’s big event — working closely with innovative companies throughout the life science industry to make sure their unique insights are heard during the 2018 convention, to be held in Boston, June 4-7.

Given that BIO has become the premier event to attend in biotech (more than 16,000 attendees last year!), it provides a prime thought leadership opportunity for life science execs. It’s a chance to spark creative conversations and establish yourself as an international expert on pressing issues in personalized medicine, business development, intellectual property, digital health or other key areas.

BIO is also a hotbed of biotech media, giving panelists excellent visibility in their favorite industry publications.

But if you want to be a speaker at BIO, you’ve got to make your plan now — and act on it quickly. The convention recently opened its call for session topics and speakers for the upcoming year, with a deadline of Oct. 12.

Here, the BIO-seasoned team at CanaleComm shares some of their best tips for creating a proposal that makes it to the stage at BIO.

  • Prioritize interactivity. The selection process is very competitive, so BIO encourages prospective session organizers to submit comprehensive proposals, including an explanation of how the panel will foster audience interaction. The panels that most clearly define audience involvement will take precedence.
  • Be thought-provoking. With 800-plus speakers participating in some form at BIO, conference planners are committed to only accepting those who are true experts on their proposed topic, have a solid connection to the industry and will be able teach the audience something new. The last item is no small task, as nearly half of BIO’s attendees are VP-level or above.
  • Leave your sales pitch at home. No matter how great your company is, BIO panels not the place for promotional content. Planners will reject session proposals that are sales pitches of your region, country or company. Review past convention programs to get a feel for topics and tone.
  • Spend your time wisely. Accepted sessions each will receive 60-75 minutes in the convention program. That’s a lot of time on stage, so demonstrate how you’ll use it. When crafting your panel, include the most compelling co-panelists and moderator you can think of, and do what you can to confirm their participation before you submit. Having a list of great panelists to join you on stage will be deciding factor for the BIO selection committee.

For more great tips, read BIO’s Proposal Guide (PDF), or contact us for help from the team that’s orchestrated dozens of successful BIO panels in recent years.