Speak at Dreamforce 2018 – 5 Pro Tips and Tricks for Winning Speaker Submissions

Dreamforce is just a little over three months away and Salesforce has launched their Call for Content!

This year, there are three options for submitting full presentations and one option for nominating speakers.

Submission Deadline is July 15, 2018  –   Acceptances will go out by August 4, 2018

Ooooh…you’re in trouble now. You are reading this so I know you’re intrigued by the thought of speaking at the conference. So you’ve come this far… so let’s get to it. I mean it. Really. No excuses.

You absolutely, positively MUST submit your session idea (LINK BELOW) !

General Call for Speakers

Here’s  a few reason why:

1)  You have an opportunity to pay it forward and give back to your Ohana who inspired, educated and entertained you at sessions you attended in past years. I will forever be paying back my debt to Steve Molis for inspiring my love of Salesforce formulas and making me feel empowered enough for me to take charge of our org  from our implementation partners back in 2012. I was just one of a couple hundred or so in the room at #DF12 but that session changed my path in ways I never imagined. So you never know how, when or where you might make a lasting impact on another member of our Ohana. 

2) Speaking at Dreamforce will change your life. If you are anything like me your heart will beat a thousand times per second up on stage and it will be terrifying and exhilarating all at once. But when you face your fears and challenge yourself to move past your comfort zone that’s where the magic happens (personal growth). The payoff comes after the session when you feel satisfaction for your accomplishment and get to say, “I DID IT – I SPOKE AT DREAMFORCE”!

3) Recently, I heard Leah McGowen-Hare and Gillian Bruce both say the best way to learn a subject is to teach it to others. It’s 100% true. Back in 2016 when our session was picked the Lightning Process Builder was fairly new and although I had been using it in my org , I was far from an expert. While prepping for our session, I had to build out a demo org, define the steps for transforming Workflows to Processes, write a script and research Salesforce documentation before creating the first draft of the slide deck. Then, Misty and I rewrote the script and refined the slides numerous times as we rehearsed. Trust me when I say, we both knew much more about Process Builder after the session than before.

BONUS: If you are selected to speak at Dreamforce, you’ll receive a complimentary full conference pass!

NOTE: Before we go any farther I must mention you need to be prepared to put a significant amount of time and energy into your presentation.  In fact, if you really want the best chance for selection, you’ll need to put in whatever amount of time it takes to get your abstract as good as it can be before you submit.

So what’s the secret to getting picked as a speaker for Dreamforce?

There is no absolute guarantee or any magic to getting an acceptance email but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances.


ONE:  Don’t rush your submission!

Do not try to write your Session Title and Abstract while submitting the form.  Write up your idea and then copy and paste into the form when you are happy with it.

When our session was accepted for the first time, many wondered how and why ours was accepted and theirs was not. Neither Misty or I were MVPs at the time and neither of us had spoken at any Salesforce event previously. Back then, I was not yet a user group leader and not even on Twitter so the session got accepted based purely upon the abstract and not by means of any connections or favoritism.

Here’s my secret… wait for it… drum-roll please… HARD WORK and a bit of LUCK. I spent more than eight solid hours working on my title and abstract before I submitted it. I rewrote it over and over and over again until it sang to me. I say this not to scare you but to encourage you. If I can do it, you can do it too!

The moral to my story is do not just throw down a few broken sentences with disjointed thoughts and expect it to be chosen. Make sure your session is well thought out and you express your vision in an easily understandable way.

There will be hundreds and hundreds of other session ideas so yours must stand our from the crowd. If you put the work in it will show through and if your idea aligns with a message Salesforce deems relevant then you have a good chance. Last year there were 752 submissions for the Admin Track and 70 session slots. That brings us to the next tip.

TWO: Don’t be boring!!!!

Remember I said there will be hundreds of other submissions. Well, think about it. Salesforce employees have to read through all the entries and score them. Mike Gerholdt mentioned that last year they spend over 350 hours reviewing each of the submissions.  It’s human nature to skim past boring , in-cohesive content.

Hints to keep your reader interested:

~ Show passion for your subject

~ Have a strong point of view

~ Let your personality shine through

Your title should read like an advertising headline and it must grab your audience (SEE LAST YEAR’S ADMIN SESSION TITLES DOWN BELOW). Ideally, your abstract should allow the reader to visualize what your session will be like. Easier said than done… believe me I know. Remember I said I spent more than eight hours on my first session submission. The sweet spot to aim for is an abstract that’s short, an easy read and entertaining at the same time.

THREE: Read the ALL tips from the Dreamforce blog for tips on what Salesforce is looking for this year: Dreamforce Submission Tips

Pay special attention to two tips on the list this year: “Highlight key success metrics and/or ROI resulting from your implementation of Salesforce” and “Underscore the power of Cross-Cloud Solutions (i.e. using multiple Salesforce products to solve challenges)” I suspect that since Salesforce has a wider breath of products due to acquisitions and new features they are specifically looking for sessions that demonstrate how easy all the solutions work together. Be sure that you show and expound upon how the features or tools solve an easily relate-able business challenge.

FOUR: Choose topics for newer product offerings and the latest features.

I  think submissions on Workflow Rules or Customizable Forecasts and anything Salesforce Classic etc will have a very low probability of getting selected .

For inspiration on session topics check out the latest Trailhead badges and Summer ’18 release notes. Also try to use your personal experience and think about challenges you overcame and the solutions to real world business scenarios. Remember that Dreamforce audience is varied and you need to think of specific use cases while also appealing to a wide audience.

Check out the suggestions from the Admin/Developer submission form:

Suggested Topics Admin/ Developer Call for Presentations

We’re looking for fun, engaging sessions that provide actionable content that helps Salesforce Admins and Developers build their skills, elevate their careers, and deliver innovative technology solutions for their companies. We’re counting on you, as product experts, to submit advanced content to help our Admins & Developers skill-up on the platform. Here are some ideas for sessions we’d like to see:

  • 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?

For those of you who are new to speaking or have never attended Dreamforce before, never fear – as long as you are passionate and knowledgeable you’ll be fine! We love first-time speakers and provide a great deal of support as you get ready for the Dreamforce stage, including a great Public Speaking Skills module on Trailhead.

FIVE: WIFM (What’s In It For Me) – Think about who your audience is and match your subject, terminology and message to appeal to your attendees.  

If you are submitting for the Admin track then you should not throw out loaded coding terminology and submit a session on advanced Apex. Likewise, if you are targeting the Developer track then you probably would not submit a session on point-and-click features like Permission Sets.

Also, keep in mind the experience level of your audience.  It’s okay to use tech speak and acronyms for advanced levels but it’s another story entirely for sessions aimed at beginners or intermediate levels. Always set a welcoming, conversational  tone for your title and abstract.

Becoming a Dreamforce speaker is not about showing off all your expertise , it’s about sharing your knowledge and inspiring others.Believe me when I say you will reap the rewards. The more you give, the more satisfying the experience will be.

Final Thoughts

** Remember that each year Salesforce has a different focus and sessions that worked in past years will not necessarily be chosen this year

** Don’t forget that Dreamforce is an event designed to empower customers to do more with products and encourage new companies to buy Salesforce products. In other words, always keep in mind the ultimate goal is to encourage attendees to some call to action like increasing Lightning adoption, using a new feature or buying addons and services from Salesforce.

Good Luck!


How admin track sessions were picked-dreamforce-2017

General Call for Speakers

Admin Track  2017 – Session Name
Build Your First Custom Lighting App in Five Easy Steps
AppExchange Demo Jam for Admins
You Can’t Ignore Me Anymore! 3 Features That Matter to Admins in Lightning
Lightning Layout Gumshoe
Salesforce CPQ, AppExchange, or Out-of-the-box?
Empower Admins with Salesforce Visual Workflow
Sales Reps Will Love You with Lightning for Outlook and Gmail
Five Fantastic Formulas For #AwesomeAdmins
Left to Right, Using Quick Actions to Streamline Everything
The App After Your Org’s Heart: Building Apps That Will Light Up Your Org
Process Automation Showdown #1
Check Your Flow! How Visual Workflow Helps Remove the Need for Code
Path, Not Just for Opportunities Anymore
Streamlining Digital Processes with DocuSign and Lightning
Where’s the Undo Button?! Deployment Best Practices
To CPQ or Not To CPQ? How Well You Know Your Products Is the Question
AwesomeAdmin Karaoke #1
Trailhead Bingo #1
Reporting Formulas Part Deux
Adopting Files and Enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience
Getting Started With Process Builder
Lightning Migration Tips and Tricks for Solo Admins
Code to Clicks
Planning Your Migration to the Lightning Experience – Four Steps to Success
Lightning Components : Even More Power for Admins to Command
Demystifying Single Sign On for Salesforce Admins
Low Adoption? Relaunch, Rebrand and Reengage with Lightning!
Curated Mobile-First Experiences using Lightning Experience & Salesforce Mobile
Using Salesforce to Document Your Changes to Salesforce
Increase Your Org’s Security With 2FA
Salesforce Optimizer Increases Productivity and Drives Salesforce Usage
Catch the Release: How to Manage Salesforce’s Major Releases Year-round
Einstein Analytics – What’s New Winter 18
Implementing CPQ – Data Migration Considerations and Best Practices
Reinvent Your Inside Sales Team with Lightning, Einstein and Advanced Automation
Deliver Training on Lightning Experience ? Without Breaking into a Sweat
Adding Intelligence to Your Application with Einstein
Think Like an Analyst: Tips for Navigating Salesforce as a Solo Admin
Mentorship in the Real World: Get the Support You Need for Your Career
Salesforce Sandboxes: Your Awesome Admin Playground
How to Lead Change Management Like a Boss
From Accidental to Awesome Admin: What I Wish I Knew When I Started
Build Skills with Trailhead to Become a Salesforce Admin #2
Change Management for Awesome Admins
Are You an Imposter? OWN IT!
Trailhead Lip Sync Battle
Congratulations! You’ve Inherited a Mature Org… Now What? (2)
Automate & Ignite Your Community with Process Builder, Flow & Lightning Bolt (2)
Adopting Files and Enhanced Notes in Lightning Experience (2)
Lightning Components : Even More Power for Admins to Command (2)
An Admin Roadmap to a Clean Org
The Ultimate Guide to Report Types
Implementing CPQ – Data Migration Considerations and Best Practices (2)
Advanced Reporting Tips and Tricks for New Admins (2)
Salesforce on Salesforce: Quip Connect
Should I Turn on Contacts to Multiple Accounts?
Expand the Report Builder with Custom Report Types
I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Documentation
Reports and Dashboards in Lightning? No problem!
Let´s Make Your Salesforce Multilingual!
Org Security Fundamentals
Salesforce Security: Admin Checklist
Time-Based Automation Demystified
Salesforce Shield: Transaction Security & Event Monitoring
Einstein Analytics: Genius Dashboards
Configure Permission Sets for Analytics
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Salesforce Org
Admin Data Scientists in Action!
enosiX: Integrate Salesforce CPQ with SAP Variant Configuration
Where, Why & How You Can Use SOQL
Process Automation Makeover
AwesomeAdmin Karaoke #2
Trailhead Bingo #2
Lightning Customization – Take Full Advantage of Lightning Experience
Formulas for the Everyday Admin
Mega Lightning Roadmap: Featuring the Customer Success Platform
Become an Admin Rockstar with Einstein
Supercharge Productivity with Lightning Console Apps
Turning It On: How to Say Good-Bye to Classic for Days
Salesforce DX: an Admin’s perspective
How Does Cake Boss Offer Sweet eCommerce Customer Experiences with the Platform?
Fearless Date and Time Formulas
Lightning Success: Taking Your Migration by Storm
Top 10 Pro Tips for Addressing Common Gotchas in Lightning Experience
Supercharge Your Lightning Roadmap with Persona-Driven UX Design
Become an Admin Rockstar with Einstein (2)
Bring Einstein’s Language Skills into Your Org with Process Builder
How Lightning “Strikes” a Balance Between Admins and Developers
If You Can Create Reports Then You Can Write SOQL
Automate & Ignite Your Community with Process Builder, Flow & Lightning Bolt
Introducing Flow – Now with Lightning!
Innovate How You Educate Your End Users
The Future of Salesforce Security and Authentication
Dear Admin, You Are a Project Manager
How to Increase User Adoption with Salesforce Actions
Make the Jump to Lightning …And Get It Right First Time
Living the Person Account Life
Salesforce CPQ is Your Friend
Leverage the Power of Picklists
Roll Out New Features in Salesforce to a Global Team as a Solo Admin
Build Efficient Processes: The Admin’s Guide to the Developer Console
Get Rid of URL Hacks in Lightning Experience
A Beginner’s Guide to Lightning Components
Effective End-User Training
Move Your Sales Team to Lightning in Less than 90 Days
Drive Adoption with Dashboards
Three Ways I Got My Boss on Board with Lightning
Go Password-Free with Lightning Login
Using Chatter to Increase User Adoption
Leverage Lightning to Drive User Adoption
Bring Users With You on The Trail to Lightning
Build Skills with Trailhead to Become a Salesforce Admin #1
Lightning Login: The Best Feature You’ve Never Heard About
Process Automation Showdown #2
How I Built This: 3 Custom Solutions that Solve Real Salesforce Problems
Advanced Reporting Tips and Tricks for New Admins
“Show Me the Impact”: Where to Start When An Executive Needs a Data Story
Top 10 Flow/Process Builder Best Practices
How Unconscious Bias Affects Building Innovative Solutions
Lightning-Fast Productivity Made Easy with Consoles
Lightning Migration Success – A Success Story
Demystifying Single Sign On for Salesforce Admins (2)
Low Adoption? Relaunch, Rebrand and Reengage with Lightning! (2)
Planning Your Migration to the Lightning Experience – Four Steps to Success (2)
Simplifying Security and Compliance with Security Health Check and Org Monitor
User Management Magic with Identity and Permission Sets
Congratulations! You’ve Inherited a Mature Org… Now What?
Requirements Drive Processes. Processes Drive Solutions.
Top 10 Pro Tips for Addressing Common Gotchas in Lightning Experience (2)
Catch the Release: How to Manage Salesforce’s Major Releases Year-round (2)
Looking Under the Hood of Your Org with Eclipse
Dear Admin, You Are a Project Manager (2)
Adding Intelligence to Your Application with Einstein (2)