It is very common for us to receive a proposal on a wonderful topic that we want to accept, but that requires a format change If the advisory board feels your talk should be changed to 30 or 60 minutes, we will let you know.
60-minute lectures tend to be inspirational, high-level, or wide-ranging talks that cover a subject of broad importance. 30-minute lectures tend to cover a single, narrow topic in depth. Panels tend to examine a controversial or difficult topic with no easy answers and lots of interesting talking points; panels are 60 minutes, which is enough time for about eight planned questions. In all cases, expect to leave time at the end for Q&A.
Also consider who is speaking. Most lectures are given by a single person, unless there is a compelling reason that requires multiple speakers (especially for a 30-minute talk, where there is hardly time to switch speakers). Panels generally have a moderator and three or four panelists who are established and known experts on the topic; everyone in the room is likely to have an opinion, after all, so the only reason to make it a panel and not just a list of questions for audience discussion is if the panelists have opinions that are worth listening to.
- Taking a narrow topic and pitching it as a 60-minute lecture. If you can squeeze the important stuff into 30 minutes, do so. When reviewing we may suggest your talk be 30 minutes rather than 60 minutes.
- Taking a 60-minute lecture and having five listed speakers, and/or taking what should be a perfectly good lecture and pitching it as a panel.