Speaker Academy – Double the Speakery Goodness!

In 2016, Keir Bowden and I started a program called Speaker Academy. The aim of Speaker Academy was to help encourage new and diverse voices into speaking roles at Salesforce events. The catalyst for this program was a Salesforce event where not one woman was speaking in the Developer Theatre. We ventured a guess that it wasn’t entirely due to the lack of representation, we’d been running the Developer User Group and WiT for years at this point and knew these people existed! We made an assumption it was a combination of encouragement and skill that people needed to make the leap onto the stage. So we embedded both of these elements into the core of our curriculum and gave it a go. Over the last four years, we have graduated more than 50 people from our in person and online Speaker Academies and the people we’ve trained have gone on to have great success. Our graduates have spoken numerous times at community groups, World Tours, community conferences and even Dreamforce! A number of blog posts have been written on starting our program, but here is the very first post about this, almost 4 years ago to the day.

As Keir mentions in his most recent post, it’s been a challenge now that I am back US. Times that work for both of us don’t quite work with an eight hour time difference, therefore we decided to split up our efforts and take on new co instructors.* Keir has already mentioned that he has teamed up with Speaker Academy graduate and prominent London community member, Julia Doctoroff. Not to be outdone on this side of the pond, I am excited to announce that I am teaming up with Amber Boaz for teaching our US based classes. I feel like I should probably write an introduction for Amber, but not sure one is really needed. Amber has been a fixture of the Salesforce Community for a long time and has incredible insights to share around speaking at community events, which makes her the perfect co instructor for our new US based sessions.

If you are interested in Speaker Academy and if this sounds like the program for you, please fill out our form so you can be considered for our next round.

*Keir and I reserve the right to still gate crash each other’s sessions and make guest appearances!


Getting Started with Einstein Analytics!

Last year, I had the opportunity to take an Einstein Analytics Academy course and wow was there a lot of information packed into that two days! It was truly drinking from a firehose. I had to take my time to play with EA on my own and put my learnings to good use because there are so many things you can do with the tool. In the last year, I’ve facilitated a couple of sessions on getting started with Einstein Analytics and I wanted to post my slides from my last session with learning hints.

One thing that I have always enjoyed about reports and dashboards in Salesforce is that reporting cuts across all industries and all functions. Whether you’re working in insurance sales or customer support for manufacturing, reporting is a necessary component to measure your business. Salesforce excels at operational reporting, such as how many events were logged this month, how many customer support cases were closed, employee productivity and the like. However to get to real trend analysis, you had to use snapshot reporting, which wasn’t an ideal solution. This is where Einstein Analytics shines!

At Snowforce and Virtual Dreamin this year, I had the opportunity to deliver a how to training session to get started with Einstein Analytics. I find the hardest parts of EA are getting started and understanding the terminology and how things work. Once you understand that, you can be pretty much unstoppable.

If you attended either of my sessions, here is the link to the slides to get started. You just need an EA enabled dev org and your creativity!

Simple Steps to Writing a Great Abstract!

Many people think that the hardest part of speaking at an event is actually getting up in front of people and speaking. For the most part, I would agree with that thought. However, before you get a chance to speak, you need to sell others on your idea and what you want to speak about. This is where this post will come in handy. With Salesforce World Tours, Community Conferences, and Dreamforce on the horizon, it’s never too late to sharpen your abstract writing skills! If your biggest worry is public speaking, I have other solutions for that!

Before beginning your abstract, think through what knowledge or experiences that you have that others would really learn from. Did you build something really great that you think others would enjoy learning about? Build your talk around that! Or if it’s too big of a talk, grab a segment of it. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something interesting to you since you will spend a lot of time with your talk and you don’t want to get bored whilst delivering it. (True story, happened to me!)

  • First off, what is the problem statement? You need a good problem that your talk will instruct people on how to solve. Make sure this is articulated very clearly, otherwise, why would someone come to your talk? If you had this problem, I am sure others have as well.
  • What is the solution? If you have a problem, you must have a solution. You can’t leave your audience hanging! This isn’t the season finale of your favourite TV show!!
  • What will your audience see? This is really important. 65% of the population are visual learners and as much as we want to see you on stage, we want you to show us something. Take us on that journey with you, even if it’s over a cliff. People love a good triumph over adversity story!
  • Take Aways!! I can’t emphasise this one enough. Having been involved in selecting sessions for multiple conferences, I think the number one question I ask is, why? Why should I attend? What is the point? Will I have enough information to put this into practice? Don’t leave your audience hanging like a Tom Brady high five!!giphy
  • Sell yourself! This is not the time to be modest or shy. Pick a great title and if you have something to say, you need to write your abstract like it’s your own advertisement. There are plenty of things happening at the same time during events, this is your time to show what your value proposition is and why they should listen to you!

If you follow these simple steps, you can’t lose. Oftentimes people are scrolling through the program guides and will sometimes just pick your session based on the title! Never pass up an opportunity for a witty title; puns are even better! People are busy, grab them right in the title.

Now go out there and write that killer abstract! There are plenty of events that are still looking for speakers! Follow this link to find a community event if your area.

London’s Calling, Not Dreamin’

We’ve just finished our second London’s Calling Community conference.  We’ve been asked a few times why the name London’s Calling and why didn’t we opt to go with the Dreamin’ name like the majority of the other conferences.

There is a simple answer to that, we’re not dreamin’.  If you’ve been to England, you’ll know it’s cold, damp and cloudy, especially in February.  This means that our conference has a bit of an edge.. You can thank the Vitamin D deficiency for that.

One of the things we try to do with this event is to infuse it with British culture.  Being in the interesting position of being an American living in London, I understand my own as well as theirs.  Where Americans would embrace the concept of Dreamin’.. The Brits might give you the side eye.  A little too optimistic for their taste.  So as part of our objective for London’s Calling, the event has to be reflective of the intersectionality of Salesforce and British culture.  One would say it’s no easy feat, but we make sure there are elements of both in everything that we do. We give you Ohana served up with a side of sarcasm.

Let’s start with the name, London’s Calling was the name that was tossed out whilst we were sitting and drinking gobs of champagne and my arm was being twisted into joining Francis & Simon on this adventure.  It was to be a placeholder name until we found something more clever.  Guess what folks, THAT never happened. We decided to stick with the name and got a theme song in the mix!  The next thing we did was tshirts.  If you’ve seen the design of our tshirts, you’ll see they cross whimsy and steampunk.  We know other community events are doing tshirts, so we’re not the first to do this, we just hope ours show our personalities.

The next part that we hope people notice is that we try not to take ourselves too seriously.  Yes, we want this to be a great event that people will come back to year after year but we know we’re not event planners and are doing this in addition to our day jobs, night jobs, school and a host of other things happening in our lives.  We’re not polished and we’re hoping that adds to our charm.  What we do take VERY seriously is our content.  We spent hours pouring over 150+ submissions for only a handful of sessions.  This meant that only 22% of submissions were accepted, which is good and bad and it’s hard to turn away fabulous content, but we have many user groups in London.  Definitely present your content there if you were not selected.

Other things we don’t do are confetti, dancing and karaoke*.  I think this may be a holdover from the fact that the UK hasn’t won Eurovision since 1998. Some are still sore about this and it’s better to just leave it alone.

At the end of the day what we want people to take away from our event is that we’re a ragtag but enthusiastic group of people that want to put on an event for the community that they’ll enjoy and want to keep attending year after year or until we run out of ideas.  We want it to reflect the culture here which we know is a bit different from event to event.  We’re hoping when you attend ours, you’ll see what we’re about.

Now that we’ve finished our second one, we’re hoping the vision is a little more clear.

*This is a constantly evolving list of things we don’t do but may do in the future.. Depends on our mood that year and how much its rained.

Blazing the Trail from Solo Admin to CoE

Thank you to everyone that attended my talk in the Admin Theatre on 19-May at Salesforce World Tour London.  As promised, I am uploading my slides, along with some links to other relevant items that were mentioned during my talk.

Firstly, the slides: Blazing the trail from Solo admin to CoE

A previous blog post that explains a lot of the content from my talk: Blog post

The resourcing slide from Salesforce: Resources

And an overview on Premier Success: Overview

The 5 Essentials You’ll Need for London’s Calling


5. Comfortable shoes. The area between rooms, expo, space bar and the entrance isn’t large, but after many times of walking up and down the stairs after the fabulous keynotes and sessions, your feet may get tired.  Plus you may want to bust a move or two during the after party!

4. Comfortable clothing. You’ll be moving from room to room, up and down the stairs and presumably, busting that move that we talked about in reason #5.  You might as well be comfortable doing it.  If comfortable for you is fancy dress, as say..  the Hulk, who are we to judge?

3. Technology! As if we really had to tell you to bring tablets and phones.  But just in case, here is a reminder.  You’ll of course want to live tweet how much fun you’re having to those that weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket!

2. Chargers!  We’ll have the outlets, you bring the chargers or extra batteries for all of that technology you’re bringing.  I heard a rumor that there is gonna be some cool swag.  You’ll definitely want to tweet about that!

1. Enthusiasm! Hopefully you’ll be excited that it’s a Friday and you’re not at work.  In addition to that, you’ll be learning cool stuff, meeting new people and getting cool swag.  Also, you’ll get our amazing Keynotes from Peter Coffee and Erica Kuhl and if that wasn’t enough, the after party!  This is where we want to see those cool moves!

If this sounds all too good to be true and you don’t have a ticket for the hottest event in town, don’t fret.  Tickets are still available here.