We’re just five weeks away from Dreamforce, one of the most inspiring and innovative technology conferences of the year. Happening Sept. 25-28, this signature Salesforce event promises nearly 3,000 learning sessions and a star-studded speaker lineup that includes former Vice President Al Gore and actor/filmmaker and social advocate Adrian Grenier. Dreamforce is also a showcase for the latest solutions in customer engagement — encompassing everything from contact center technology to artificial intelligence and Internet of Things platforms.
Because of its size and scale, exploring Dreamforce can feel a lot like exploring a new city — which is not easy to do without some preparation and informed recommendations. Attending this show requires a significant investment of your time and money so you need to ensure you’re set up to get the most out of it.
Read on for some dos and don’ts that will help you develop a game plan to maximize your Dreamforce experience.
DO pack for versatility
Late September is San Francisco’s warmest time of year, but fog, wind, sun and even some rain are possible. Make sure your wardrobe has something to deal with each of them. And be prepared to walk. Not only will you be on your feet in the exposition hall, but many Dreamforce events will be held in venues that are blocks from the convention center. Comfortable shoes are a must.
DON’T overschedule yourself
From Marc Benioff’s opening keynote to the annual concert to the plethora of learning sessions and parties in between, Dreamforce’s abundant agenda can make you feel like you need to be everywhere at once to avoid missing out on anything. But make sure you leave a little flexibility in your schedule in case you discover a company or a concept you want to learn more about, or bump into someone you’ll want to catch up with.
Click here for a list of the can’t-miss Dreamforce parties and events.
DO plan for travel and queue times
Because sessions might be held in venues blocks away from each other, plan your days with the locations in mind, and be realistic about the time it takes to get from point A to point B. Ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft will be overwhelmed and prone to surge pricing. So plan on walking or taking public transit if possible — including Salesforce’s own hotel shuttles.
Also, expect long lines at the high-profile events, such as the keynote. That line begins forming a few hours before the speech’s scheduled start, so brace yourself for the battle to get out and back to the expo. Or you can skip the crowds altogether and watch a live broadcast of the keynote at the NVM hub. We’ll have happy hour bites and beverages.
DON’T forget to RSVP
The days of stumbling into a Dreamforce session and finding an open seat are long gone. Today, you need to reserve your seats. Be sure to use the free Salesforce Events app (link) to reserve your spots early, but then keep checking the session listings. Since new sessions are added until a few weeks before the event, it’s likely that sessions that are a great fit for you won’t be available the first time you look at the site. So recognize that you may need to alter your reservations closer to show time.
Find the list of sessions here.
DO follow the conversation on social media
Pre-show, social media can help you figure out who you’d like to meet and what you’d like to put on your schedule. If you’re a first timer, check out the Salesforce Trailblazer Community group called “New to Dreamforce,” which caters to Dreamforce rookies and allows veterans to answer their questions.
Use LinkedIn proactively to understand the backgrounds of other attendees — an extremely useful method for preparing yourself for productive conversations. Joining relevant LinkedIn groups is another useful avenue for learning more about the show — and for broadcasting your presence and interests to other Dreamforce attendees.
If want to keep up with the conversation during the show, creating Twitter lists can help you find the news you’re most interested in. You can follow lists people have already created for Dreamforce-related content and then create your own list of handles that you find particularly interesting. If you’re posting, you can cut through the noise by using a second hashtag in your Tweets that helps narrow the focus and make it easier to search. (don’t forget to use the #DF18 hashtag).
For more tips on making the most of your Dreamforce experience, download NewVoiceMedia’s Ultimate Guide to Dreamforce. And click here for information about where to find NewVoieMedia during the event. We’re planning some great parties and sessions, and we hope to see you there!
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About Chris Bucholtz
Chris Bucholtz, director of content marketing at NewVoiceMedia, spent 15 years as a technology journalist, covering CRM, customer service and telecommunications among his many beats. He was the founding editor of InsideCRM and has managed marketing content for SugarCRM, Aplicor, Relayware and CallidusCloud. This year will be Chris’ 11th Dreamforce.Read more from Chris Bucholtz