Academic Conference Session Titles that Attract Attendees

Thursday, August 11, 2022 Tips and Tricks

Matthieu Chartier, PhD.
Matthieu Chartier, PhD.

Founder @ Fourwaves

Most conferences offer many different sessions, and sometimes they take place concurrently. Because conference goers can only attend one session at a time, they must plan their event schedule by choosing which sessions are most relevant to their particular areas of interest. 

Attendees turn to conference websites and programmes to learn about the topics and formats of each session. Each session will have a title that guides the reader to a corresponding description, helping them decide if it’s a session they should attend.

Conference session titles have multiple goals and functions. The primary goal of any title is to draw in the reader. To achieve this goal, the title must intrigue the attendee enough to encourage them to read the session description located just beneath the title. 

By spending the time to create a unique, interesting session title, session organizers can spark interest and buzz, setting their session apart from others. 

Guidelines and tips

Here are some tips to help you write interesting, engaging session titles that will encourage your audience to keep reading.

Set up a brainstorming session with your organizing committee

Make sure that the most creative people on your team are present. Even the best writers struggle to come up with the right words from time to time, but bringing a group together can be a big help as it provides the opportunity to build off of one another’s ideas.

Be consistent

While it’s important to write creative session titles that stand apart from the rest, it’s equally important to maintain the brand voice that represents your event as a whole. To do both, write session titles that are fun and engaging while still aligning with the format of the other conference sessions.

Don’t be abstract

Write session titles that are clear and direct, and not abstract. Readers should not have to review your session title more than once in order to gain an understanding of what will be discussed at the session. 

Keep it short and punchy

Session titles should be brief, conveying their message in as few words and characters as possible while remaining specific and urgent. As a general guideline, try to stay between 10 and 15 words, or approximately 70 characters.

Convey a sense of urgency

Let them know that the information presented in your session could make a measurable difference and it’s important that others learn about it. Make it clear that this information has the potential for real-world applications if acted on immediately. 

Be specific

The subject matter being discussed in the session is specific, so the session title should be specific as well. Write session titles that give enough detail for the reader to understand exactly what is being presented.

Draw them in from the very first word

Use a hook to draw in the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue scrolling. A good hook could be a relevant, well-known song title or phrase, or even an alliteration or rhyme – as long as it’s directly related to the subject matter at hand.

Make your title authentic to the session content

It can be tempting to use a controversial hook to get people talking about your session, but if it doesn’t actually apply to the subject at hand, you will lose credibility and trust in the end. While it’s true that this tactic will likely garner attention, it certainly won’t be the kind of attention you’re looking for.

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