What’s Hours is Yours

Hello, you lot. It’s my first blog post of 2019, so I guess I should say two things: 1) Happy New Year, and 2) Poor you, having to read my inanities once more to really bring you back down to earth after the holidays. But I honestly think that this week’s inanities might just help you out. So listen up.

This week I want to talk to you about the MVP Office Hours program. Today is an exciting day for the MVP program, as the nomination window for the next round of MVP awards closes. But I’ll be focusing not on the ‘MVP’ aspect but on the ‘Office Hours’ part, since it doesn’t really matter who runs it. It’s not about who’s hosting; it’s about who’s attending. And I think you should attend.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of Office Hours then, erm, well geez, come on, it’s a pretty well-known phrase in the wider world and anyway it’s not that difficult a concept to get your head around. Get with it, yeah?

But if you insist on being spoon-fed, then here goes: Office Hours are a period of time when the metaphorical office door is thrown open and anyone can virtually walk in and ask questions, seek advice, or just shoot the breeze.

The Office Hours concept isn’t a new one in the Salesforce world. MVPs across the globe have been running these sessions for a number of years. But I do think they’re under-used by the community. So I want to talk about how you can get use out of them. Starting with the obvious…

1) Get your questions answered

Yeah, clearly the primary benefit you’ll get out of attending an Office Hours session is the chance to ask your question, and hopefully get it answered. But what kind of questions work well for Office Hours?

Well, not the kind that a quick Google search will answer for you. And not need-it-now calls for help like you’d typically get solved on the Successblazer Trailmunity. And we’re not miracle workers. We basically only have an hour to help you and others, so we’re not going to design a whole application for you.

But the kind of question where someone has asked you if something is possible and how it’d be done, but there isn’t an easy answer or you’re just not sure where to start. Those are the kind of questions I think work well in this kind of environment – when you get to hear from people who have (maybe) been there before and, even if they haven’t, might be worth bouncing some ideas around with.

2) Listen to (and learn) from others

When I said that Office Hours sessions can be under-used, one reason for that (and a very understandable one) is that people only dial in when they have a question of their own which needs an answer.

And that’s fair enough, right? We don’t all have the luxury of giving up an hour just to hear what others have to ask. But actually I find that is absolutely one of the best ways of picking up new knowledge.

It’s like when I used to hang out on Answers – I was there to ask my own questions, sure. But I was mostly there to read the questions of others, so that I could increase my knowledge and grown my (indirect) experience. Maybe someone is asking something you don’t need to know now, but maybe one day you will need it. And all knowledge is good knowledge. So listen up and learn.

3) Hear from experts (and ‘experts’)

The final benefit you’ll get out of attending your local Office Hours call is that they often contain some good, old-fashioned ‘content’ as well as the open-floor Q&A.

For example in the January 2019 edition of the EMEA MVP Office Hours session (proper plug coming in mere moments, don’t worry about that), I’ll be sharing some of my favourite features which are coming in Spring ’19. In past sessions, we have covered topics like Salesforce Surveys, Dreamforce recaps, and Women In Tech.

We really do strive to provide something of interest for everyone, along with being a patient listening ear on the other end of the line.

OK, let’s cut to the chase. Here’s what you have to do now:

1) Check out your local MVP Office Hours group

US: Community Group, Twitter, YouTube

EMEA: Community Group, Twitter

APAC: Community Group

Portuguese speakers: Community Group, Twitter

Students: Community Group, Twitter

2) Sign up for the next EMEA Office Hours session!

We’ll be re-launching the EMEA version of MVP Office Hours with our first 2019 session on Thursday 24th January at 12:30 UK/13:30 CET.

We’ll be showing off some cool Spring ’19 stuff, and of course taking your questions. So hop over to http://bit.ly/JANEMEAMVP to sign up for the call, and we hope to chat to you then!

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