As a graduate student, you should participate in as many conferences as you can because participating in conferences combines the best of all academic opportunities: networking with other colleagues and professionals in your field, having your work reviewed by peers, and having your work published in conference proceedings. If you already know how to submit a paper for a conference, then you know that submitting papers to conferences is easier than you think, but accepting the amount of rejection you will more than likely face is the hard part. Nevertheless, you should assure yourself ahead of time that being accepted to present at just one conference is worth being rejected for a slew of other conferences. Once you have accepted this, then you can use the following six steps as a guide to how to submit a paper to a conference:
1. Find conferences with open calls for papers.
You can use websites, search engines, and professional organizations to search for conferences with open calls for papers. You can search by conference topic or by area of specialization, conference location, etc. Many organizations will specify on their websites exactly how to submit a paper for their conference.
2. Write proposal.
You will have to write a proposal about your paper. Presentation proposals are similar to paper abstracts (i.e., 350 words or less), but each conference typically has unique requirements for its proposals. You should read all conference requirements for proposals before you begin writing your proposal. You may have to change your proposal to meet the requirements of each conference to which you are submitting.
3. Submit proposal.
You will probably be submitting your proposal electronically, so be sure that you submit any documents in the form required. If you are accepted to present at a conference, someone from the conference will probably contact you by email.
4. Present paper.
Depending on your field of study, you may use a script to help you present your research [link to article, “How to hone your presentation skills”], or you may use visual aids like PowerPoint presentations or posters to help you present. You will need to design and practice your presentation ahead of time, making sure to stay within the time frame that the conference has allotted for your presentation.