University of Minnesota

June 7th, 2018 • Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Call For Session and Lightning Talk Proposals

The 2018 University of Minnesota Communicators Forum Annual Conference conference theme is “Illuminate: Storytelling that Inspires.” From presentations and events, to digital and print formats, we use visual elements and graphic design, well-crafted content, and emerging technology and resources to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire.

We are seeking speaker proposals for:

  • 12 break-out sessions;
  • lightning talk speakers (5-8 minute talks that will be hosted over lunch or part of one session).

Proposals should be 1-2 paragraphs in length and include:

  • name, title, and department of organization of speaker(s)
  • title and topic area of your presentation/session
  • a description of the presentation/session
  • the format of the presentation (e.g., if it's single presenter or multiple people, etc.)

Proposals/presenters for break-out sessions should plan on a 45-minute presentation and at least 15 minutes for Q&A. Lightning talks are quick, 5- to 8-minute talks about a very specific topic and may or may not be accompanied by slides—presenters should allow for 5 minutes of Q&A.

Please submit a photo of each speaker with your presentation proposal, along with a short bio for each presenter.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Marketing
  • Creativity
  • Design
  • Photography
  • Web Development
  • Event Planning
  • Project Management
  • Social Media
  • Content Strategy
  • Presentations
  • Leadership
  • Communications
  • Public Relations
  • Fundraising
  • Copywriting

Attendees include communicators, marketers, designers, developers, photographers, content managers, writers, event planners, and project managers.

How to Submit

Ideal candidates for session speakers are:

  • Comfortable speaking in front of a group, with average session sizes ranging from 30-60 people
  • Enthusiastic about their topic
  • Associated with or knowledgeable about higher education and the University of Minnesota

Twin Cities residents only. Preference is given to University of Minnesota staff.

First-time speakers, people of color, women, and individuals from diverse communities or backgrounds are encouraged to submit!

Deadline Extended: Proposals are now due by Friday, March 9, 4:00 p.m.

Submit Your Proposal

About the 2018 UMCF Annual Conference

June 7, 2018

From campfires to campus, sharing our stories is one of the most important and most lasting parts of the human tradition. In the information age, finding creative, unique, and meaningful ways to tell stories that inspire audiences about the work that we do has never been more important—or more challenging. As professional communicators, we strive to communicate in compelling ways and across many platforms. From presentations and events, to digital and print formats—we use visual elements and graphic design, well-crafted content, and emerging technology and resources—to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire.

This conference will explore ways to enhance our stories through break-out sessions and presentations, include opportunities to network with our colleagues, and provide a day of professional development and learning for communications professionals. Whether sharing the latest research, promoting a new event, or creating designs and content for a webpage, we all have a story to tell.

In addition to our break-out sessions, we will also offer two exciting keynote addresses, lightning talks (new this year), our ever-popular vendor fair, and the Maroon & Gold Awards. We will close the day with a raffle and a networking reception.

We hope you will join us on June 7th, 2018 at the University of Minnesota Communicators Forum Annual Conference, “Illuminate: Storytelling that Inspires,” with keynote address by master storyteller and Minnesota playwright Kevin Kling.

We can’t wait to hear YOUR story! Join us on June 7th.

Learn more at


Keynote Speaker

Kevin Kling

Kevin Kling

Author, Playwright, Teller of Tales

Monologist and playwright Kevin Kling grew up in Osseo, Minnesota and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College. He has performed his plays in Sweden, Sydney and Perth, Australia, Edinburgh, Scotland and in the Czech Republic. His autobiographic piece Home and Away premiered at the Seattle Rep and moved to Second Stage Theater, off Broadway, under the direction of David Esbjornson, where it received a received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Venue Information

Humphrey School of Public Affairs

301 19th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

Conference Sponsors

The UMCF Vendor Fair is an annual tradition at the Communicators Forum conference. The Vendor Fair is attended by over 200 communications professionals who have the opportunity to meet vendors and sponsors and learn about services and products. Vendors and sponsors are critical to the success of the UMCF conference.

All sponsors and vendors have the opportunity to have a table at the Vendor Fair. Attendees are highly encouraged to visit all tables so they can meet vendors, make connections, and have their vendor card stamped. Stamped cards are then entered in a drawing for prizes held during the conference reception.

Maroon & Gold Awards

NEW DEADLINE: 2018 Maroon & Gold Awards submissions are due by 3 p.m. CST on Friday, March 2!

Awards Information