Making Better Submissions

Submission Title and Abstract

The success of your submission and even the success of CppCon as a conference depends on the quality of your title and abstract. A compelling title and abstract will result in your submission being accepted by the Program Committee, increased attendance at the conference, and increased attendance at your session.

Writing good titles and abstracts is an art, but here are some guidelines likely to make your submission more compelling.

  • Focus on the subject and the lede–the first two sentences of your abstract.
    • A reader should be able to read just the title and the first two sentences of the abstract, no more, and know “what” the topic is and “who/why” should be interested in attending the talk.
    • Everything else in the abstract should (just) elaborate with details on those things, not add new main points.
  • Help us highlight the broad uses of C++. We want people looking at our program to think, “Wow, C++ sure is used in a lot of different applications in a lot of different industries.” If your session is based on experience from or application in embedded, robotics, games, finance, science, etc. or a large, successful, “hot,” or otherwise well-know company then consider that as part or your title.
    • If worded properly you session can be compelling to those in the same field and also to those that want to apply the lessons learned in your field to their problems.
    • Examples:
      Less Great:“constexpr performance tips”
      Much Better: “Using constexpr for performance in low-latency Google search engine code”
      Less Great:“Cross-platform C++ development using Visual Studio”
       Much Better: “Cross-platform C++ development targeting Android, iOS, Windows, Xamarin, Linux and IoT” (possibly adding “using VS”)
    • Consider a flavor of “How you can X by learning / embracing / using / understanding Y” rather than “Some thoughts on Y.” Emphasizing the practical value of your attending your talk is what turns a website visitor into a conference attendee.
  • Avoid jargon and insider terms.
    • A single unknown acronym or term may cause attendees to think “this talk is not for me.”
    • It is fine to use such terms if you define them or make their meaning clear in context. You may even have such a term in your title, as long you explain it in your abstract. “Applications of Hobb’s Algorithm in Low-Latency Libraries” is fine as long as the abstract let’s us know something about Hobb’s algorithm and why it has special value (or challenges) in low-latency applications.
    • You may also refer to something in a way that makes it clear that you will explain it so attendees don’t need to worry if they aren’t already familiar with the concept: “We will also cover Lippincott functions and other techniques for exception handling.”
  • Humor/cleverness is okay.
    • It is certainly not required and it is better to not attempt it than to fail at it.
    • People are attending because they want information, not entertainment, but no one wants to be bored. Having a title/abstract that is catchy/funny/clever is a signal that your presentation won’t be dry.
    • The litmus test is that what you write should work on both levels. It should make sense even if the reader doesn’t get the joke. Otherwise it is maybe off-putting or alienating.
    • A professional technical conference, like CppCon, is not the place for humor that is “adult” in nature or targets any group. Better to be risk boredom than to risk offensive.

Submission Advice

If you are a first-time submitter or just want some comments on your title and/or abstract, we invite you to send an email to our submission advice address. Please include your name in the subject line and include your session title, abstract, and any specific questions in the body. We’ve recruited a set of volunteers that will share ideas and comments on your submission before you submit it. Asking for this advice is optional, and the volunteers do not speak for the conference or the Program Committee, but may give you comments from a valuable perspective. (If you wish to use this option, do not wait. As the deadline approaches, response times on this service will lengthen.)

Comments from Attendees

We’ve surveyed attendees on every presentation ever given at CppCon and the single most common issue raised is that presenters speak too fast and try to cover too much material.

IMG_0010There are two primary causes of this. The first is just that presenters under-estimate how long it will take to cover material. When you practice your talk in front of your cat, you’ll cover a lot of material quickly because your cat understands everything right away. Practice in front of a real audience–at work and/or your local user group. You’ll understand from the looks on their faces and the questions they ask how fast (or slow) you can go. You’ll begin to get a feel for how much material you can cover in one hour.

Resist the urged to cover more. The difference between a session that covers less material very well and a session that hurries through material that the audience does not have time to fully appreciate, is the difference between a memorable sessions and a forgettable one.


Make your submission from the link on our Submissions page.