Breakout or Theater: How to Choose One for Your Dreamforce Submission


Got your pencils sharpened, a draft in the works, and a session almost ready to submit to the Admin/Dev/Architect CFP? Good! Yet there is always that one last question: should I mark it as a Breakout or theater? Don’t be dismayed, (and definitely don’t let this deter you from submitting before 8/16!) let’s take a moment to learn the differences together.

At Dreamforce for the Admin/Dev/Architect tracks we have two types of spaces that you can choose to present in. As you create your session idea it’s important to think about the space, and the content you are presenting so that your audience can have a memorable experience.

It’s About Space and Time

Let’s start with the Admin Theater. If you have never been to Dreamforce before, the Admin Theater is located in the Admin Meadow, which is part of the Trailhead zone. The Trailhead zone is a large, open space filled with lots of people walking around experiencing demos, interacting with each other, and watching presentations. In this space, Dreamforce attendees are free to walk up and listen to your session or take a seat in the audience. The easiest comparison to this would be similar to a music festival or fair where you can walk by stages and watch the performers.

The screen behind you while on stage is generally pretty large. For comparison, think the size of a double-decker bus. Presentations there are shorter in length at 20 minutes total, and often center around topics that are easy for Salesforce Admins to engage with. Again, remember that people are moving in and out of the space so topics that are easy to walk up to and have big visuals are best. For example, a topic like “3 Ways to Lay Out a Dashboard” does well in the theater because the visual of a dashboard is simple to understand and translates well on the screen. Whereas a topic like “The History of Salesforce Triggers and Troubleshooting Common Mistakes” doesn’t work because it may be difficult for the audience to engage with the deep nuances of the presentation. Additionally, they may have a lot of technical questions that would require a more intimate setting. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Breakout sessions.

Breakout sessions are held in dedicated session rooms with a set number of seats. This is traditionally what you and other attendees come to conferences for and were most likely the first thing you added to your agenda. Breakout sessions allow you, the speaker, to dive deeper into a topic because you have more time to cover it. Because Breakout sessions are held in dedicated rooms, and attendees need to have their badge scanned to enter we allocate a longer time period for this content. The format also allows audience members to engage with the speaker and ask questions. In general, Breakout sessions are held in rooms with about 250-300 people. Because the space isn’t conducive to people coming and going frequently, attendees are able to focus on the content presented because there are fewer distractions. The easiest comparison to this would be akin to a lecture hall or classroom discussion.

They are both awesome

Having presented at Dreamforce and other conferences for many years I can tell you both are a wonderful experience and in no way is one better than the other. I’ve presented some very fun topics in a theater and equally enjoyed diving deep into other topics in a Breakout session. In terms of quantity, there are way more theater session opportunities than breakout session opportunities. This is common not only for Dreamforce, but most conferences as the current trend is to go to shorter, quickly digestible content.

The moral of the story is, you know your content the best, and making the distinction between creating a theater presentation or a Breakout session is entirely up to you! I hope this post helped to clear up any indecision you may have been experiencing because we can’t wait to read your incredible ideas for the Dreamforce ’19 Admin Track.

The Dreamforce Admin Track Call For Presentations will remain open until August 16, 2019.
Our goal is to have all acceptances out by September 19, 2019.

Ready to Submit Your Proposal?

Click Here!

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