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Tips and Tricks: Submitting Dreamforce 2018 Speaker Nominations

So you want to submit a speaker nomination or session topic for Dreamforce 2018, but you’re not quite sure what they’re looking for or which story gives you the best bet to get picked? This is Traction’s 12th Dreamforce and through the years we’ve presented in dozens of breakouts, product keynotes and beyond. But more importantly, we’ve helped dozens of clients get on stage to share their technology transformation, brand and mission.

The Dreamforce 2018 Call for Content and Speaker Nominations ends between July 15th and July 20th, so there’s not much time left to submit. Below are a few resources and a quick Q&A to help maximize your chances of being selected.

And, if you need any extra incentive, remember that all speakers get a free pass to Dreamforce (valued at $2,000).

Helpful Links

  • Salesforce Call for Content Blog Post – This post has all the info and links needed to complete your submission, including tips for submitting topics more likely to be chosen.
  • Call for Speakers Landing Page – Embedded in the blog post mentioned above, this is where you actually submit your session topics/speaker nominations.
  • Trailhead for Public Speaking – Want to brush up on your public speaking and content creation skills? Check out this Trailhead.
  • Dreamforce 2018 – Make sure you continue to check back to the main DF18 site where they’ll sharing all the exciting updates as we get closer to this year’s event.
  • Dreamforce 2017 YouTube Channel – Take a look at some of the best sessions from last year and consider these when putting together your submissions.

Tips, Tricks and Frequently Asked Questions

Below is an amalgamation of info directly from Salesforce as well as commentary from Traction.

Admin & Developer Track:

  • Keep your session specific. Admin and Developer sessions are targeted at the more technically inclined attendees. Pick a specific piece of functionality or cloud where you’ve built something really interesting and focus on that.
  • Keep it tangible. Hypothetical solutions or topics can be inspiring, but the people in these sessions want to know what you’ve actually built and what impact it could have on their business. Demonstrate your tangible, data-driven results.
  • Keep it product and platform focused. Salesforce wants to host sessions that expand the use of the platform and reiterate the benefit of core functionality. Here are a couple great sample topics (taken directly from the application notes).
    • Build Lightning Components with Salesforce DX
    • Advanced Lightning Components
    • How to Build a Lighting App from Start to End
    • A Beginner’s Guide to Lightning Components
    • The Admin’s Guide to the Developer Console
    • Change Management for Admins
    • Process Automation: Actions, Process Builder, or Lightning Flow?

General Call for Speakers & Call for Presentations:

  • Consider your speaker and topic. With this application, you’re submitting a speaker nomination and a potential topic. Consider what organizational-level message you’d like to share and then who the right person is to deliver it. Both count. If you have executives attending Dreamforce, this could be a great chance to get them on stage.
  • You can nominate someone else (General Call for Speakers only). In the application process, you can choose whether you’re nominating yourself or someone else. If you have an executive but want to reduce the process for them prior to being selected, submit for them.
  • Focus on org-wide impact and tangible results. Leave the forward-looking statements to the keynotes and focus your speaker topics on real challenges and solutions that have driven actual measurable results within your business.
  • Multi-cloud is always a hit. Demonstrating actual use cases of a multi-cloud Salesforce instance that leverage functionality from across the platform will help you in the selection process.

Other tips:

  • Check out the application before writing your topic suggestion. Each application typically includes some great guidelines to help set you up for success.
  • Pick a topic that is timely, relevant and thought-provoking. If the topic generally interests you or is something you are passionate about, this will ultimately help you create a compelling written submission. Ask yourself “what are lessons learned from your experience and how can they be applied more broadly?”
  • Building a strong abstract. Make sure your description supports the title. The abstract should have 2-3 key takeaways identified for attendees. Be creative. Salesforce wants to know how you will engage the audience. How will you make it not only informative but participatory. It should be compelling and communicate clearly what attendees can expect to learn from your session.

While there are over 2700 sessions that take place at Dreamforce, there are thousands more topics that get submitted. So while, chances of being selected are relatively low (unless you’re a great, well known name-brand), compelling and engaging session submissions are your best bet for getting on stage and a free ride to DF18.

Q&A from Salesforce

Q: Why are there different places to submit proposals?
A: Different departments or groups have different requirements and are targeting specific audiences (partners, developers, admins, customers, etc.) Make sure you understand the audience you want to present to, before completing the submission.

Q: What happens if I am selected as a speaker, but I have already purchased a full conference pass to Dreamforce?
A: If you are selected, you will receive an automated email from our Dreamforce Team with a special registration code for a full conference pass. The email also contains details on how to receive a refund or how to transfer the purchased pass to a co-worker.

Q: If I am selected as a speaker, how will I know what I am speaking about?
A: If selected, you will be contacted by email, with details on the particular session we have in mind for you. Your role will be determined by the particular need in that session. For example, you might present slides, offer a custom demo, serve as a panelist in a forum, answer questions at the end, or network with other partners in your region.

Q: How will I know the status of my proposal?
A: We will communicate with you (via the email address you submitted to us) by the middle of August on the status of your submission. We may come back to you for clarification or additional details before making a decision.

Q: What are some examples of past sessions?
A: Take a look at the Dreamforce 2017 YouTube Channel for past sessions to help inspire you.

Q: How will I know the status of my proposal?
A: We will communicate with you (via the email address you submitted to us) by Friday, August 10, 2018 on the status of your submission. We may come back to you for clarification or additional details before making a decision.

Salesforce’s Dreamforce Submission Tips

For 40-minute sessions, all speaking submissions should:

  • Start with a great story to tell, including a passion for sharing knowledge with others
  • Touch on a topic that addresses or solves common customer challenges
  • Incorporate clear use cases, best practices, learnings, and how-to’s
  • Clearly identify how your company uses Salesforce products (including the roll-out)
  • Highlight key success metrics and/or ROI resulting from your implementation of Salesforce

For 20-minute theater sessions, all speaking submissions should:

  • Highlight a tip or trick (i.e. “Use this shortcut to save 10 minutes a week.”)
  • Tell a great customer success story
  • Focus on a specific Salesforce product feature as well as how you are using it to drive success
  • Include an engaging and eye-catching demo
  • Underscore the power of Cross-Cloud Solutions (i.e. using multiple Salesforce products to solve challenges)

Additionally, here are some helpful tips for crafting a winning speaker submission:

  • Outline your talking points (i.e. list and rank your top messages)
  • Explain why attendees would want to give you their time
  • Clearly identify what problems you are solving
  • Clearly identify your target audiences and/or target industries
  • Have a key takeaway or action item that attendees will walk away with

Once you’ve got that done, there are just a few more bits of housekeeping to keep in mind:

  • Be as precise and descriptive as possible. The more direct you are, the easier it will be for our team to understand your ultimate objectives.
  • Don’t forget to outline whatever other speaking experience you have.
  • Think about whether a 20-minute or 40-minute session would be the best fit for your topic.
  • Brush up on your presentation skills (even if you’re a seasoned speaker). Check out the Public Speaking Skills module on Trailhead for some really great advice.

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