Partners will be running nearly 100 sponsored breakout sessions at Dreamforce ‘13, sharing the spotlight with many of our most progressive customers. And many of you have been invited to share your expertise in sessions run by our product teams. With over 1000 sessions and some of the most incredible presenters in the world on stage at Dreamforce, it’s probably a little daunting to be a presenter. And it should be.

Everyone knows delivering awesome presentations is serious business at Dreamforce. Kurt Smith and Annette Vernon, our strategic content leaders, shared some great advice in a recent sponsor success webinar.  As we head into dry runs, starting now, Kurt and Annette will repeat this time and again with our internal session owners. You should do the same with your team!

  1. Be maniacal about delivering what you promised – Be sure your presentation delivers on the promise you made in your session title and abstract, from start to finish. Resist the temptation to change course after attendees have started signing up for the session.
  2. Do not pitch – product pitches are the fastest path to bad reviews. Focus on great lessons, success stories, and actionable takeaways.
  3. Map your course – Create a Session Plan to think about the cadence and flow of your session. Start with your key objectives, think about your audience, outline the questions you want to answer and ask, and plan your time – BEFORE you start working on slides.
  4. Slides are support, keep them in the background – Challenge yourself to keep slides to a minimum, and keep them super simple. Find a compelling way to visualize what you want to say with simple images and minimal text. You don’t have to part with your detailed data and knowledge – that has a place in notes, or downloadable content.
  5. Tell a story and make your attendees main characters
    • Write your story in 10 lines or less and make those your title slides.  Think about the story arc – beginning, middle and end. Antagonists and protagonists.
    • Start in the middle – skip the intro to engage your attendees immediately. Start with a question or a challenge.
    • Start with a bang – music, jokes (good ones)
    • Don’t just stand there and lecture – make it a two-way conversation, create some antagonistic thinking, make the audience the star of the story.
    • Remove yourself from the riser (we’re lowering risers – walk around with your lapel mic!
    • Change pace every 5-7 minutes. You’ll lose attention about every five minutes, so plan to do something different to re-engage attendees on this interval. Change presenters, ask a question, or ask for questions.
    • Use Chatter to engage in advance and in real time – every session has a chatter feed and attendees will auto follow sessions they register for, so this is a tremendous opportunity to encourage your audience to be part of the learning process!
    • Practice – this should go without saying, right? Not just your content. Walking around, speaking slowly, even practice breathing and dealing with nerves.

A Word to the Wise: Presenting at Dreamforce is an awesome opportunity to shine and the most important value statement you can make about yourself, your company and your solutions. As we forge into the social and mobile future, session ratings will be more interactive and open than ever, so be sure you’re doing what it takes to be your very best!

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