Public speaking. Too many of us, speaking in public is your worst nightmare – and for many of you, this word may have sent shivers down your spine. But public speaking isn’t so bad when you are doing it in front of friends; in front of a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow through the knowledge and information you want to share.

Last week, I was the guest speaker at the Las Vegas user group. Guest speaker is a fancy term used to say “someone who isn’t afraid to be in the desert at the end of may with near 100 degree temperatures.” Growing up in Arizona, you would have thought that I would be used to the heat, but Colorado has spoiled me!

But I digress. I was honored to be there, and I was excited to share my knowledge with those in attendance.

I want to get one thing straight. I am nothing special. I’ve run into people who think I am some sort of celebrity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am just a normal guy, who knows a normally small amount about Salesforce who happens to have a blog that people like. That’s it.

If you’ve listened to my interview on the ButtonClick Admin podcast, you know that I am an introvert at heart. Public speaking and small talk can be hard for me. But I do it because I enjoy it. I do it because many other’s do not.

Speaking at a User Group

If you are cone of the millions of people who have a fear of public speaking, the only way to overcome that fear is to get up in front of people and speak. Practice makes perfect, right? And there is no safer environment than at a user group meeting.

User groups are created and run by the local Salesforce community. While partners and employees may be in attendance, the group is meant to be by the community, for the community. It’s a place to share, learn, grown and network. If you are not already a part of your local user group, click here to find and join one near you. If there isn’t one in your area, consider creating one!

The Las Vegas user group is small. We had about 14 people in attendance in total that night but the content was great. Conversation was flowing, ideas were being shared, and new relationships were being built. What struck me the most was the willingness of the members to share.

The agenda included about 30 minutes for “show and tell” where members could present (very informally) something that they were working on. Out of that small group, 3 people got up to show some really cool stuff.

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Mark (pictured above) was attending the group for the first time ever. Yet he still got up in front of the group and talked about some amazing customization to the console that he and his team built. Using a game mouse, he could navigate through records in the console, update statuses and change owner assignments. It was really impressive!

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Mary (pictured above) talk about how she solved a complex and manual problem at her company using Process Builder. This process had been a manual one for years and no one wanted to take the time to figure out how to standardize the process. Workflows would have been overly complex but the Process Builder provided to be the perfect solution. After some trial and error, Mary was able to create a solution to an efficiency problem that had been around for a long time.

Importance of Community

Salesforce has a unique ecosystem which is unparalleled in the industry. Collaboration is central to your success as a Salesforce professional. Knowledge through collaboration and sharing is what it’s all about.

Salesforce is too big to know everything. We need each other.

Think of all the times that you were able to solve a problem using the response of someone like SteveMo. SteveMo generally gets all of the credit, but we can’t forget those individuals, just like you, who reached out to the community for help. See, engaging with the Community is more than just getting help for yourself. Your request for help is public which means that together, we all learn.

User groups are like real-life message boards. Just like message boards, they require engagement. User groups only work when members are engaged with each other and the presentations.

Giving the Presentation

Depending on the user group, you may need to create a “formal” presentation. Mike Gerholdt created a great post around how to give a great presentation at user groups so I won’t rehash this, but you can find that information.

What I want to add is this: don’t be afraid to be scared. But don’t let that hinder you from getting up and sharing. You have something exciting to share. Don’t think that you need to present something super fancy or complex. There are people at all levels of experience that need to hear what you have to share.

Get out there and share what you are accomplishing. It’s going to be amazing!

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