Salesforce Communities – Road to volunteering

Salesforce community events are trending. From world tours to Lightning events and local admin or developer User Groups. Some of these events are organised and sponsored by Salesforce, others are being held by community members. What brings them all together is the Salesforce customer community, powered by volunteers. At every event, most speakers are volunteers sharing knowledge and not just Salesforce sales pitches.

Over the past years, I’ve attended a lot of these events. From local admin/developers community user groups (Belgium User Group) towards the Salesforce1 world tour in Amsterdam and I even had twice the opportunity to travel towards San Francisco for the big, bigger, biggest Dreamforce.  I know, I’m lucky (Tip: keep asking your manager until he says yes 😉 ).

As I was attending more frequently these community events, I started to volunteer as well. After all: it’s a great community so I wanted to give something back. Two years ago at the Salesforce World Tour in Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to volunteer in the Trailhead zone. Where fellow trailblazers or new customers could get a first taste of configuring or developing a first app. It was a great experience where I had the chance to meet new people: Salesforce employees, MVP’s, customers, …

But I wanted to take it a step further and conquer a fear: what if I would be giving a public talk? If there is one thing I would not like to do: then I can strongly confirm that it is public speaking. There are some studies out there which show people being more afraid of public speaking then death. So in a crazy mood (I think we drank a couple of beers), my colleague @jartois and myself decided to reply towards the call for speakers at the World Tour in London. Which is twice as big as Amsterdam. We applied but were not chosen to give a public talk. I cannot deny that I felt relieved. However we went to London as volunteers at the Trailhead zone. Which was as well a great experience. Meeting new people from Salesforce and MVP’s.

Next up: Dreamforce. It’s the biggest community event in the world with over 170k people attending. So how great would it be give a talk and share some knowledge? I know, talking at Dreamforce in front of such a crowd as my first public talk? How many beers did I drank that day? Anyways we applied for 4 (!) talks around sharing technical solutions but weren’t selected. We hadn’t proven our public speaking skills at local events. So I decided to give it a second try and applied for sharing knowledge at a product demo booth: process automation. And yes! I got chosen and shared my knowledge in the Dev Zone. That was a great experience as you hear customers struggling with certain scenario’s or technical limits. Helping them out and after the event getting an email appreciating your help is satisfying.

So in 2 years, I helped around in the Trailhead zone a couple of times and manned a booth at Dreamforce. But I still hadn’t conquered a fear: sharing knowledge over a public talk. Together with my partner in crime @jartois, we applied for an Admin session at the World Tour in Amsterdam. And… Yes, our session got approved. Nervous but with the encouragement of @jr0cket, we went for it and had a great first experience!

Now, we all have a very busy schedule. User Groups are mostly outside of work hours whilst the events take up at least one entire day: why should I attend? Or even better: why should I volunteer?

  • Salesforce customer community is all about sharing. We all know that you have some specific knowledge from where everyone could learn from. Share!
  • Inspire others
  • Receive acknowledgement from the community
  • Meet new people and network
  • Visibility
  • If you speak at Dreamforce, you get a free pass

Next up: Belgium User Group meeting and Dreamforce?? 😉