What Our Class Learned From Our Speaker Diversity Program*


The dust has settled and it’s been a few weeks since the Speaker Diversity Program ended.  We’re so proud of our graduates and the talks they delivered on 25-August.  If you want to read a full run down on the event, I highly encourage you to read Keir’s blog post.  He did a great job of recapping the event. Also, not to be missed is Louise Lockie’s post on what she took away from the program.  Definitely read both of these posts if you have no idea of what I am talking about at this point.

I also wrote a post that summarized what I had learned by actually teaching the class with Keir. You can read more about that here, but this blog post is centered on what our graduates took away from the program.

So a brief overview of why we did this:

After World Tour London in May, when it was realized that it was the same people speaking at all of the events and that we needed to encourage more people in the community to get up on stage at events, the Speaker Diversity Program was born.  The mission of our program was fairly simple and straightforward:


This program aims to increase speaker diversity by providing a series of workshops around speaking, building presentations, interacting with an audience and preparing for an actual event through dry runs and practice sessions.

This seemed like a fairly easy task.  A hack team of community and Salesforce people came together and decided to create a schedule, content and teach these brave souls!  Keir Bowden and myself led the majority of the sessions.  We had some assistance from Kerry Townsend, Antonina Romanova and Pauline Dufour.  We’re grateful they were able to step in while Keir and I were busy eating pizza in Chicago.

After polling each of the individual students, this is the feedback they gave:

I learned how to package up a talk and create the journey. – Dave Humm

I learned to have minimal words on slides, not to talk to the slides, proper presentation techniques, ensure the audience is engaged. – Louise Lockie

I learned what not to do during a talk.  The behaviors of having a balance between too much and not enough content.  Keep contact with the audience and adjust your presentation style.  Don’t look at the screen too often as it seems like you’re reading the slides and aren’t prepared. – Antonina Romanova

I learned there different presentation styles to learn from.  Our instructors both had different styles. – Courtney Prior

I learned how to structure a presentation and slow down when I am speaking. – Tracy Keeling

It was important to face a new challenge and learn something along the way. – Rad Radkova

And lastly..

I learned nothing.  I am here to judge, not contribute. – Keir Bowden 

Although I think Keir was wrong.  He was very much there to contribute as he was the Paula Abdul to my Simon Cowell style of giving feedback.  Who knew Keir could be so positive?

All participants were also given Get Feedback links to provide additional detail around how we can make these sessions better.  We’re going to refine the program and run another 6 week session after Dreamforce.

If this sounds even remotely interesting, you’re brave enough to spend 6 weeks learning how to be a better speaker and are not adverse to homework, you can register your interest here. We’re even planning on doing something special with our graduates in the next few months.  Can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but you’ll have to sign up to learn more!

*Yes, I know I am using the American spelling of the word.. Deal with it.