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Dreamforce 2018 Call for Proposals is Open!

By June 18, 2018

By: Jeff Dixon, Higher Ed Advisory Council member and former Dreamforce speaker

Five Steps to an Awesome Dreamforce Presentation

Advice on submitting your session proposal for Dreamforce 2018.Dreamforce is coming! Mark your calendar for September 25-28, and get excited about meeting people from your fellow nonprofits, education institutions and companies that are using technology to further their mission.

The Salesforce community is excited for this year’s program, showcasing all of the innovation happening in the nonprofit and education communities.

You might be asking yourself “Why should I submit a proposal to speak, and how do I go about doing so?” Please see the steps you’ll need below, along with some great tips and tricks from my past experience as a speaker:

  • Use the Call for Presentations direct link to submit your nonprofit or education related speaking idea.
  • Or, go to the the general Dreamforce Call for Sessions page, then look for the orange box to share your ideas in the Call for Presentations.
  • This is important to help your proposal be reviewed by the appropriate people.
  • The Call for Presentations will be close on July 16, 2018 and all speakers will be notified of their session status by mid-August. During that time you may be contacted to gain more insight into your session submission.

So, if you’re thinking this might be the year for you, here’s my advice:

How to put together an engaging Dreamforce presentation

Step 1: Pick an Engaging Topic

There are two general ways to pick a room-filling topic. The first way is to showcase something you are doing that is really cutting edge. If you are an ahead-of-the-pack innovator in AI, blockchain, or another hot technology, the community would love to see what you are doing! Show us how you are using the latest Salesforce products like Einstein or Salesforce Advisor Link to change the way your school operates.

Even if you’re not two steps ahead of the rest of the world, you’ve probably done something really innovative to solve a problem we all have. The second way to attract an audience, then, is to take a popular application of Salesforce – like recruiting or alumni relations – and show us a little innovation that’s changed your world. This year at World Tour, for example, I showcased how my team took an existing Salesforce product – Service Cloud’s Live Agent – and applied it to Sales Cloud to get online chat linked to their application process. A simple tweak of an existing technology has turned their recruiting on its head.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Don’t try to speak to everyone at once. When you apply to speak, you’ll be asked several questions about your target audience. These options will fuel the Einstein-driven agenda builder and guide the right people to your talk. You don’t want to give a technical talk to a roomful of executives. Likewise, you don’t want to talk sales techniques to a group of developers.

When you’re thinking of your topic, ask yourself, who would benefit from seeing my solution? Write your presentation for that audience. And, above all, ensure your session description describes your target audience. Action verbs, in particular will bring them in. For example, “This session is for recruiters who want to amp up their sales through insightful analytics!”

Dreamforce speaker tips
Commerce Cloud keynote at Dreamforce

Step 3: Show and Tell

Live demos are a great way to hold your audience’s attention.

Getting out of PowerPoint and going live with a demo can be frightening, but it’s rewarding for your audience. Here are a few tips to making a demo work:

  • Have a partner there to help you out. One person can talk while the other runs Salesforce to make for a super-smooth experience.
  • Practice, practice, practice. You want your timings to be nailed down, so that you’re not fumbling with data or leaving dead air while working in Salesforce.
  • Use a Sandbox. You don’t want to inadvertently change real data in front of a live audience! Also, fake records protect the privacy of your customers.
  • Have a backup. When doing one of your practice runs, take screenshots and insert them into a PowerPoint deck. If you lose Internet on the day of your presentation, you can use your backup slides in a pinch!

Step 4: Tailor Your Presentation

If you’ve practiced your presentation and know your material, consider taking a step into the world of improvisation. Always build 1-2 minutes into the beginning of your presentation to ask the audience what they hope to get out of the session. By better understanding what they want, you can make little tweaks to my presentation along the way. This way you’re answering questions in advance and prepping for even richer discussion at the end.

Step 5: Think of the Best

As a final tip, think of the best presentations you’ve seen at past events. If it worked for you, it probably worked for others. Use that presentation as a bit of inspiration. Good luck in your applications!

Share your innovative ideas and you could get rapt attention from the audience at at Dreamforce!
Share your innovative ideas and you could get rapt attention from the audience at at Dreamforce!

Submit your proposal today!

The call for presentations is open so if you have a great nonprofit or education story to tell, submit your session idea today.

Don’t forget: The Call for Presentations closes on July 16, 2018 and all speakers will be notified of their status by mid-August 2018.

Thanks very much and see you at Dreamforce!