How do you guarantee that your Dreamforce 2017 experience is productive, fulfilling, and worth the investment of time and money? Preparation. Conferences, especially huge ones like Dreamforce, can be difficult to navigate and can put you in lots of unfamiliar and surprising situations. You can use these Dreamforce tips to handle some common, yet confusing, circumstances you might find yourself in this November.
1. Not Knowing Anyone
This might be especially applicable to you if you’re a Dreamforce first-timer. At such a huge conference, it can be a little overwhelming if you’re a party of one. Good news is, the Salesforce community is a welcoming bunch. Just search #SalesforceOhana on Twitter to see the kind of friendliness and camaraderie that’s basically a part of Salesforce’s brand.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do show up early – One of the first people to a talk or a party? That’s not a bad thing, especially if you normally have trouble confidently networking. Smaller groups can be less intimidating and give you a leg up on connecting with people.
- Don’t think of it as just business – Sure, you may have great business reasons for making connections at Dreamforce, but don’t get so focused on that that you come across as rude or manipulative.
- Do ask questions and take an interest – No one likes getting stuck in a conversation at a conference with someone who just talks about themselves and their business. People will quickly tune you out if you do this, making your networking attempts pointless.
- Don’t underestimate the power of body language – You can convey a range of emotions without saying a word. To appear as open and welcoming as possible, remember to smile, keep your arms uncrossed and your body turned toward the person you’re talking to, and maintain steady eye contact.
- Do have talking points – If small talk doesn’t come naturally to you, plan a few topics of conversation that you can use to start off a conversation or to fill a lull in the chatting.
- Don’t just focus on yourself – No one likes to talk to someone who’s self-absorbed. Pay attention to the person you’re networking with and ask questions that show you’re listening.
2. Running out of Steam Mid-Conference
While you should absolutely try to get the most out of your time at Dreamforce by attending applicable sessions and making lots of connections, don’t overestimate how much energy you’ll have. It’s very likely that you’ll need time to rest between sessions so that you can keep your energy high and absorb as much information as possible. Instead of planning to attend sessions 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with parties every evening, pick a top two sessions to attend each day and include some time that you can rest, get work done, or add in another session if you’re feeling up to it.
Never been to San Francisco and need some suggestions for good places to stop and unwind? Check out Salesforce’s roundup of places to take a break during Dreamforce. Some of the highlights from the article:
- If you’re hungry: The Market
- If you feel like getting lost in a good book: City Lights Bookstore
- If you need to stretch your legs: Land’s End Trail
- If you want to sit back and do nothing for a few hours: Spa Vitale
3. Information Overload
There’s a lot going on at Dreamforce, and it’s pretty likely your day will be packed full of information from start-to-finish. The danger there is that you forget the helpful strategies, tips, advice and other bits of information you’re there to learn. To combat this, have a notepad or notepad app that you can easily access throughout the day. Also, be diligent about taking notes on sessions and speakers and after visiting different booths. At the end of each day, go through your notes and add details that you may have forgotten to write down. At the end of the conference, you’ll have a written record that you can refer back to, instead of just a jumbled bunch of memories.
Want more great pointers about taking notes? In this oldie-but-goodie article from Salesforce, there’s several, including creating an action plan for note-taking ahead of time, and making sure to write down any to-dos so you don’t forget them.
How do you feel now? Hopefully these Dreamforce tips have helped you feel a little more prepared and a little more confident in your conference navigation skills.