Texas Association of School Administrators   |   Texas Association of School Boards
TASA/TASB Convention
Henry B. González
Convention Center
San Antonio
September 23–25

How to Write Great Conference Session Titles and Descriptions
That Pack Rooms

You spent countless hours getting your presentation ready for a TASB conference, so don’t shortchange yourself by giving it a boring title or a lackluster description. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best practices that can help you fill your presentation room.

Session title and description length

  • Session Titles: Between 10 and 15 words, roughly 70 characters (including spaces), is the optimal length for a session title. Titles should be in AP Style title case.
  • Session Descriptions: Keep descriptions of sessions under 100 words whenever possible. This length restriction does not include presenter names, titles, and organizations.

Writing an intriguing session title

Remember: Session titles should be no more than 70 characters, including spaces.

If you want to increase attendance at your session, the best way to do it is by piquing reader interest with a compelling session title. It’s your first — and possibly only — chance to make an impression on a potential attendee.

Which of these two session titles makes you want to read the session description to learn more?

  • What’s Next for Public Education in Texas
  • The Big Changes You Need to Know About in Texas Public Education

The second title works better because it exploits the curiosity gap — big changes are coming, but what are they? — and, using “you,” speaks directly to the reader.

Once you’ve created curiosity in your reader, it’s only human nature for them to want to satisfy that curiosity. That starts with them reading further down into your session description.

Making your session description interesting

Remember: Keep descriptions to about 100 words if you can.

Conference session descriptions can easily fall into the trap of being dull, leading attendees to believe that the presentation itself will be dull, too. If you have a session title that successfully exploits the curiosity gap, making attendees read your session description, you need to deliver by showing them why your session will be interesting:

  • Spell out who should attend (new versus veteran trustees, etc.).
  • Focus on your reader and what they’ll get from attending your session.
  • Include specific learning objectives.
  • Consider using bullet points to highlight important information.

The word count isn’t the challenge; using the right words is. (This description is exactly 100 words.)

Drafting strong learning objectives

Your session description should explain not only who should attend and what you will talk about, but also what conferencegoers will get out of sitting through your session. These statements should go in the latter half of your description and are what participants can expect to achieve.

The best learning objectives follow Bloom’s Taxonomy and have three distinguishing characteristics:

  1. Observable
  2. Measurable
  3. Actively accomplished by attendees

Which of these two learning objectives works better?

After attending the session, participants will be able to:

  • Increase average daily attendance at their schools by 10 percent.
  • Identify five ways to improve average daily attendance.

The first one makes a bold promise it probably cannot keep, and it’s ultimately misleading because the connection between the session and any increase in ADA cannot be measured. The second learning objective meets all three characteristics laid out above.

The bottom line with session titles and descriptions is to keep it simple and enticing. Well-written copy is clear, concise, and straightforward. Sticking to these best practices will help you get people excited about attending your session.