2020 ICMA Annual Conference Call For Presentations

Help Shape the ICMA Annual Conference Programming

ICMA Member and nonmember speakers are invited to propose ideas through our Call for Presentations by
Monday, December 2 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Our easy to follow submission process allows the local government community to have a say in what programming is scheduled for the ICMA Annual Conference, September 23-26, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
ICMA 2019

How the Call for Presentations Works

The 2020 ICMA Annual Conference Planning Committee has identified some topics for speakers listed under “Presentation Topics” below. Please look through the list to see if something sparks a new idea for a presentation and speaking opportunity for you in Toronto and submit a session proposal through our online submission site.

Don’t see a topic that would be of interest to our attendees? When logged into the submission site,  just select “Other” and submit your session and topic!

When you submit your presentation, consider the presentation format and the information/content the attendee will receive through the specified time. We have new presentation opportunities for 2020, see below under “Presentation Formats”.

Important Dates to Remember:

Thursday, November 7 – Call for Presentations Opens
Monday, December 2, 11:59 p.m. EST – Call for Presentations Closes

Call for Presentations Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Create a New Account

Click here to access the submission site.  Then, click “Join Now” below to begin.

You must create a new account.  The submission site does not use the same log-in information as the ICMA website.

Step 2: Create an Account Profile

You will create an account profile that collects your contact information.  Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).  There is an option to add assistant information as well and they will be copied on all emails that are generated from the submission site.

Step 3: Click “Begin a New Session”

On this page, you will find also find a list of Frequently Asked Questions beneath the “Begin a New Session” link.  In this section, you will be asked for the session title. There is a minimum of 10 characters required for this field with a maximum of 200 characters.  Next, choose your Session Type – session type is not guaranteed and is subject to change.  A list of session type descriptions is available on this page.

Step 4: Task List

In this section you will be assigned four tasks:  Speaker Information, Session Details, Learning Objectives and Speaker Agreement.

Task 1. Speaker Information:  Add new speakers/submitters.  This requires contact information including title and organization, a brief bio and a headshot.  Press “Save Speakers” to continue to the next task.

Task 2.  Session Details:  Add a session title, avoid using abbreviations when possible.  Make the session title short yet specific that indicates the nature of the presentation.  There is a minimum of 10 characters and a maximum of 200 characters.  Choose the session topic and target audience(s).  Next, a session description is required.  There is a 300-word maximum for the session description.

Press “Continue” to continue to the next task.

Task 3.  Learning Objectives: Three learning objectives are required.  Complete the sentence, ‘Upon completion, participant will be able to….’ Use action words to begin this learning objective, such as list, describe, define, demonstrate, conduct, etc.  Press “Continue” to move on to the next task.

Task 4.  Speaker Agreement: Each speaker is required to submit a Speaker Agreement. You can access each author’s form by clicking on the “Edit Form” button below each name listed. Click “Submit” then “Save Disclosures”.

Step 5: Submission Completion

Finally, click the “Save Submission” button and then “Submit”. An email will be auto-generated to all submitters/speakers on the session form.

Step 6: Submit Feedback

If you have any feedback regarding the submission process, you will have an opportunity to provide feedback.

Presentation Topics

Here are some topics the Conference Planning Committee is interested in for 2020.

Advocacy of the Profession
Affordable Housing
Artificial Intelligence
Budgeting & Finance
Civic Health/Community Cohesion
Climate Impact/Adaptation
Communication Skills
Emergency Management
Equity & Inclusion
Family-Friendly Workplace
First-Time Administrators
Global Programming
Mental Health in the Workplace
Personal Well-Being
Recruitment & Retention
Social Media


ICMA is always in search of new and innovative ideas for speaking engagements and presentations.  All ideas are encouraged!

Presentation Formats

Lightning Talks

This format allows 10 minutes for presenters.  This may or may not include slides, but if slides are included they should move forward automatically to keep the session on time.  Because lightning talks are brief, it requires the presenter to make their point clearly and rid the presentation of non-critical information. This, in turn, helps keep the attention of the audience.

30-Minute Presentation

These sessions are designed for attendees who don’t want to attend the traditional 60-minute educational sessions or deeper dives.  It is designed to be a short, interactive session.

30-Minute Rapid Fire Roundtables

These roundtables allow for short educational bursts in an informal, non-traditional setting. Presenters get right to the information attendees need to take away from the session, offering 3-5 practical tips during the first 15 minutes and then taking questions for the remaining time.

45-Minute Presentation

This is designed to allow for a shorter time to share a best practice, innovation or application.  Panel discussions are also encouraged.

60-Minute Presentation

This traditional session features a speaker(s) or panel and includes time for audience questions and answers.

60-Minute Campfire Roundtables

These sessions begin a lot like a traditional presentation, with a speaker (or multiple speakers) at the front of the room presenting an idea to a group of people. After 15 or 20 minutes, however, the focus shifts from the presenter to the audience.

For the remainder of the session, the presenter becomes a facilitator, inviting comments, insights, and questions from those around the room. Campfire sessions allow attendees to drive their own learning and share experiences with others, which also assists with networking.

90-Minute Presentation

These sessions allow attendees to really dig into a topic. Allow for at least 30 minutes of reserved time for questions and discussion by attendees.

120-Minute Deep Dive

These sessions allow for in-depth, interactive sessions.  Two hours immersed in a topic of importance to your city, county, responsibilities or career.

Tips for Call for Presentations Success

  • Follow the instructions and read the Call for Presentations FAQ section for important information about the ICMA Annual Conference and tips for creating a great submission.
  • Create a future-focused, original presentation that covers the latest best practices, ideas, and innovations in the local government management profession.
  • Depth and specificity – the more specific your submission description is, the better. Drill down to what really matters to the local government management professional.
  • Your title should reflect your description – think simple, accurate, and succinct.
  • Diversity matters – session selection will reflect diversity in gender, race, and location of speakers as well as diversity in thought and opinion.  Please keep this in mind if you are proposing a panel.
  • No product information allowed –  your presentation must be noncommercial. At no time is it permissible for presenters to use their time slot to advertise or promote a product, service, or company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Submissions?

All submissions must be in English and include the following:

  • Session title
  • Session type (ie- 60-minute presentation)
  • Session topic (ie- homelessness)
  • Target audience(s)
  • Three learning objectives
  • Session submitter/speaker name(s), organization name, title, complete address, phone, and email information
  • Brief presenter biography and headshot
  • Description of session (no more than 300 words)
  • Speaker agreement

Session information will be published on the website, in the conference app and other channels when available.  All presentations must be noncommercial. At no time is it permissible for presenters to use their time slot to advertise or promote a product, service, or company.

ICMA reserves the right to cancel a session and/or change a speaker, if necessary.

What is the ICMA Annual Conference?

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Annual Conference is the largest gathering of local government professionals in the world and offers an abundance of educational, information-sharing, and networking tools to help local government management professionals manage their communities in today’s complex environment.

Where and When is the 2020 ICMA Annual Conference?

The 2020 ICMA Annual Conference begins on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 and ends on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Preconference begins Tuesday, September 22, 2020.  This year’s annual conference is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre located in the South Building at 222 Bremner Boulevard.

What Should Session Descriptions Include?

Session descriptions should include tool(s) attendees can take back to their communities.  Ideas should be educational, non-commercial and provide value to a wide-ranging group of ICMA conference attendees.

Will I be Notified if my Submission is Accepted?

All submissions will be reviewed, and submitters will be notified by email whether or not their proposal is selected for inclusion in the conference program.

What Happens if Your Idea/Submission is Selected?

All selected submitters will be contacted with further information including notification of all deadlines.  Please note it is crucial to the success of the conference that all selected speakers, moderators, etc. adhere to all ICMA deadlines.

Does Submitting an Idea or Proposal Guarantee my Acceptance?

Idea or speaker submittal does not guarantee selection.

Who Can Submit?

Anyone!  While non-members are encouraged to join ICMA to enjoy the benefits of membership, submissions are accepted by members and non-members.

Who Attends the ICMA Annual Conference?

Local government management professionals of all career stages and backgrounds come to the ICMA Annual Conference each year.  Audience types consist of:  Encore, Executive, Assistant/Deputy, Department Head/Director, Staff/Analyst/Assistant, Student/Interns, Small Community, and Senior/Credentialed Managers.

Can I Download the Annual Conference Presentations?

Yes, registrants of the ICMA Annual Conference will have access to download session handouts and PowerPoint presentations from various sessions through the Conference App and online during and after the conference event.

Questions about the 2020 Call for Presentations?

Please email Felicia Littky, Conference and Meetings Project Manager, at conferenceteam@icma.org.