Tips for Submitting Your PASS Summit Abstracts 


Who Can Submit a Session?

The PASS Summit 2012 Call for Speakers is open to everyone in the SQL Server community. Community and Microsoft speakers may submit up to four session abstracts and two Pre-Conference seminar abstracts across our six topic tracks. All proposals must be submitted by May 13, 2012.


Note that you'll need your PASS member login to access the Call for Speakers website. Not a member yet? Sign up for free now!


Session Types
You may submit the following types of sessions:

·         Regular Session (75 minutes)

·         1/2-Day Deep Dive Session (3.5 hours)

·         Pre-Conference Session (full day) - see prerequisites


You may submit up to a total of six abstracts - four across the regular and 1/2-day categories, and two Pre-Con sessions. In addition, one panel discussion per presenter can be submitted and will not count toward your abstract submission limit. A maximum of two sessions per submitter will be selected. 

Note that 1/2-Day Deep Dive sessions should be level 400-500 content, and Pre-Conference sessions are open to experienced speakers only and those who meet minimum speaking qualifications. PASS Summit 2012 will also feature by-invitation-only Spotlight sessions, but these sessions follow a different process (you will be notified if you have been invited).


Session Tracks for PASS Summit 2012

Be sure that your session abstracts fall into one of the following six tracks. If you are having difficulty figuring out the correct track for your session, step back and re-evaluate your topic. See if you can narrow your topic and add additional material around it. Also, feel free to email the Program Committee chair and ask for help determining which track is the best fit.

  • Application & Database Development: The primary audience for this track is developers and database administrators who build and support applications using Microsoft SQL Server and related technologies. This track provides in-depth knowledge from industry experts and developers who have used the technologies to successfully solve complex tasks and build real solutions. The track is designed to cover all aspects of SQL Server and related application development, including architectural design, coding, testing, troubleshooting, data access methods, and optimization.
  • BI Platform Architecture, Development & Administration: Designed for BI architects, developers, and administrators, this track focuses on BI infrastructure, administration, architecture, and development on the Microsoft BI Platform. Technical content about SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Master Data Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, and troubleshooting and administration of Microsoft SharePoint will be covered. Focus will be placed on best practices and lessons learned, integration with Hadoop and other Big Data sources, upgrading and migration, data modeling, scale-up and scale-out, and new capabilities to consider for rollout and deployment.
  • BI Information Delivery: Designed for BI architects, application developers, and BI analysts, this track addresses the implementation and use of  front-end technologies that deliver BI to end users and enable self-service BI. It will cover concepts and implementation, best practices, and lessons learned. Specific technologies include SharePoint Server, PerformancePoint Services, PowerPivot for Excel and SharePoint, Power View, Report Builder, Excel and Excel Services, Visio, and .NET. Topics will include scorecards, dashboards, and self-service BI.
  • Cloud Application Development & Deployment: This track is for developers and IT professionals interested in leveraging their existing SQL Server skills to take advantage of the benefits of Microsoft SQL Server Azure. It focuses on concepts and application design, best practices, and lessons learned - whether you are looking to develop directly in the cloud, utilize a private cloud solution, or extend your existing environment for a hybrid solution.
  • Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment: This track is designed to equip IT professionals for the challenges inherent in the ever-changing database environment and to prepare them to work efficiently with other professionals involved in enterprise database systems. It addresses the diverse range of topics that DBAs face when working in a production database environment, including consolidation and virtualization, Big Data architecture and implementation, capacity planning, data warehousing, and security.
  • Professional Development: This track offers something for every professional DBA, whether they are an administrator, developer, or BI expert. It includes sessions to help further your career, with focus on technical writing, speaking, project management, career planning, interviewing for a new job, making the move into management, and more. 

Speaking at PASS Summit
PASS Summit is the largest event in the world focusing on just SQL Server and its related technologies. People take a week away from their families and work, and pay thousands of dollars in registration, hotel, and travel costs, to come learn from the best in the community. Every year, the number of submissions for the limited number of coveted speaker slots grows - and standing out in the crowd can be difficult.


Having a solid track record as a presenter through SQLRally, SQLBits, SQLSaturdays, and other conferences is a big plus. Don’t be surprised if your first submissions don’t get picked up - but don't give up: Every speaker has a first time presenting at PASS Summit.

There are often several abstracts covering the same topic as yours, so having a clean, concise abstract helps you stand out. Here are some tips:

  • Session Title: Aim for short, sweet, and clear - here are a few examples. You are trying to grab the attention of attendees and the selection committee, but that doesn’t mean you are writing headlines for the tabloids. Session names have a 75-character limit (including spaces), but shorter titles are easier for attendees to quickly grasp and also display better on presentation materials and websites.
  • Session Goals: Having focused goals - specific things people will learn from your presentation and then apply in their work environments - is a must for a successful session and session abstract submission. Not having any goals (or even worse in some cases, too many) will hurt your abstract. Make sure your goals are concrete enough to be useful.
  • Session Abstract: A solid summary of your presentation is a must - here are a few good examples. Include a clear explanation of your topic and what attendees will learn. Note any prerequisite skills or experience - if you have never built a data warehouse, for example, and the presentation assumes you have, it will be a poor experience for attendees. Also note if there will be live demos or source code or other materials available for download (materials are usually made available before Summit). People often prefer demos to static content, and making the demo code available to attendees can be a valuable addition to your presentation.
  • Your Speaker Profile and Bio: These elements are your resume - the more information the Program Committee has about your experience and qualifications, the easier it is for them to evaluate your submissions. Make sure to include your most relevant speaking experience. The Program Committee will have access to previous Summit evaluations, but it helps to note which Summits or other PASS events you've spoken at. If you've presented at conferences outside of PASS, be prepared to present any evaluations you have available. If you teach college-level courses, include that information here. But refrain from putting any personal likes, dislikes, or religious views in your bio - you will be presenting a technical talk, not espousing personal views that don’t relate to the topic. Here are some examples of successful bios.   

How Do You Submit a Session Abstract?

Here's how to create and submit a session abstract for PASS Summit 2012:

  1. If you have not done so, first review the PASS Speaker's Resource Page at It offers advice to help you create successful abstract submissions.
  2. Enter your personal details. You will have to complete two different pages: your personal profile and your speaker profile. Be sure to complete all of the requested information. 
  3. Before you begin entering your abstracts, you also need to read through and accept the speaker terms for the conference.
  4. Now you're ready to enter each session abstract, one at a time. You may submit up to four regular session and/or 1/2-day session abstracts and two Pre-Con session abstracts.
  5. After entering all the session details, review your submission, and click Save to submit the session.
  6. Once you have entered your submissions, you may view, edit, or delete any of them until the submission deadline of May 13, 2012. After this date, you will not be able to make any changes.

How to Target Your Audience?

When you complete each abstract, you will be asked to specify the skill level you expect session attendees to have. The more accurate your skill level specification, the more successful your session will be. There are a limited number of slots, and fewer 400- or 500-level presentations in the pool, which means competition for  presenting 400- or 500-level sessions at Summit is tight. If you aren’t a recognized expert in the subject, a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server, or a Microsoft employee, you may not be chosen to speak on an advanced topic.

Following are the skill levels you must specify for PASS Summit 2012 sessions:


  • 100 Level (Novice) - Assumes some knowledge of the concepts/features, but not necessarily coding skills; 1 year experience
  • 200 Level (Intermediate) - Assumes comfort with technical concepts and basic coding skills; 1-3 years experience
  • 300 Level (Advanced) - Assumes solid knowledge of technology and strong coding skills; 4-6 years experience
  • 400 Level (Expert) - Assumes advanced understanding of technology; 6+ years experience
  • 500 Level (Advanced Expert) - Assumes deep technical knowledge of the technology; 8+ years experience

Can I View Sessions that Have Already Submitted?

Yes! See the Submissions page to get inspiration and avoid duplicating sessions that have already been submitted.


When Will I Find Out if I Have Been Accepted to Speak?

If you are selected to speak at Summit 2012, you will be notified by Friday, June 8, 2012. Every year, many more sessions are submitted for Summit than there are available speaking slots, so not every speaker who submits an abstract will be selected to speak. But we encourage you to keep trying and seek out speaking opportunities at other events as well.


How Do I Find Out More Information?

You can find answers to most of your questions on the PASS Summit 2012 Call for Speakers FAQ page and by visiting the PASS Speaker's Resource page.