3 main reasons to attend a Salesforce Community conference
Live events like conferences and workshops provide unique learning and career building opportunities that one can’t always find anywhere else. Salesforce Community conferences (or “Dreamin” as they are called sometimes) are organized by Salesforce customers, MVPs, Trailblazer group leaders and enthusiasts who with the help from sponsors work hard on bringing quality content to attendees. These events might be smaller than average Salesforce conference and have a different structure, but there’s a lot of benefit coming with that. Here are the main 3 reasons why you should attend Salesforce Community events and consider inviting your team to join you as well.
1. To see and be seen
One of the most common reasons for attending the conference is to meet and talk with likeminded people. At a Community conferences you will get a chance to meet people who might have similar level of Salesforce experience but are coming from a wide range of backgrounds. Some of them might have additional skills you may not be able to learn about at your workplace or from other professionals in the industry. Also, considering that we all invest the time and effort into building our professional network, community-led conferences are a good place to meet again with people you haven’t connected in a while.
Networking isn’t one-way street. Going to the conference means that you are also open for other people to meet you. Regardless if you are CEO of a big Salesforce consultancy or a solo Admin in mid-size firm, you will want to meet someone at a breakout session, in the Expo hall, or during the lunch hour. What might look like a random meet, can turn into deep and meaningful connection with someone that could dramatically impact your life and career. Whether you are looking for a new position, want to hire new team members, are looking for someone to help you with Dreamforce presentation or work with you on a custom app, there’s a high chance you’ll find that person or at least meet someone who can extended their network and introduce you to another Ohana member who might be just the person you had in mind. Conferences are another way to get your name out, especially if you are fortunate enough to be invited as a speaker.
2. To expand your knowledge and help others learn from you
If you attend a Salesforce Community event, expect to hear about things that will be new to you despite your level of expertise. Most of the orgs we all work with are heavily customized, so even when we’re in the same line of business, we might have different solutions in Salesforce. You might learn about new apps, custom automation processes, rare issues and limitations, or meet thought-leaders that you have not previously heard of. I guarantee that you will leave the conference with the urge to learn more about some of the things you heard about. Community conferences give you the opportunity to talk to presenters one-on-one about the topic of their presentation and they may even give you advice on how to enhance your own work. You will also have the opportunity to ask presenters questions about their work and the rationale behind it, which you can’t do when watching sessions streaming or recording.
Let’s not forget you are also a thought leader in the areas you work in. Attending an event like this gives you the opportunity to present your work too. Talking about your experience with Salesforce or sharing the knowledge with others might give you more confidence (take that imposter syndrome!) and open a new perspective through audience’s questions that could make you think about your project differently. You can easily think about conference presentation as the opportunity to get feedback on your work from people who have never seen it before and may provide fresh new insight.
3. To learn about areas you usually don’t have a chance to hear about
Salesforce is rapidly and dynamically changing and sometimes it feels it’s hard to keep up with it all. If you sign up for conference sessions that are covering topics outside your area of expertise, you will broaden your knowledge and make sure you can thrive in the competitive market. Also, during many Community conferences, you may find something else besides strict technical and business content - sessions for professional development, career advice boots, and even (in)formal job fares. Don’t forget - when you go to a Salesforce Community conference - the attendees are united by a single product, but they have many different backgrounds. They might also have different career paths and complex skill sets offering you an opportunity to learn from general conversations and also have a chance to ask questions. If all this sound a bit tense and you don’t feel comfortable talking to people you don’t really know, just remember - growing as a professional and individual requires you to get out of your comfort zone.
We all know Salesforce Community conferences can be hard to fit into budget and plans. They are usually not included in work travel budget and require the time away from the office where you could be productive. However, Community conferences provide a unique combination of all the things mentioned here and ways for you to grow and challenge yourself. And if our parents were right, that is something we should all keep doing every day.