Survival Guide for Dreamforce Virgins

When we cast our minds back to our very first Dreamforce, all those years ago, I think it’s fair to say we didn’t have a clue what we were doing. For one, we got completely lost, following the crowds and hoping we were heading in the right direction. But after nearly ten years of attending Salesforce’s events, we feel we have become Dreamforce veterans, having perfected the art of surviving these always exciting but sometimes overwhelming events.

As Dreamforce is now only a few weeks away, we thought that we would pass on our pearls of wisdom to ensure exhibitors and attendees alike can have both a successful and enjoyable Dreamforce experience. Whether this is your first time attending, or whether you’re a vet yourself,  organizing your game plan early on is essential for a conference of this magnitude! Here is our list of survival tips that we wish we had known the first time round.

Start Early

Connect with other attendees on Dreamforce Chatter. Start your Dreamforce experience early  by finding people you want to meet who are from your hometown, in the same industry as you, or who have the same interests as you. Send direct messages to arrange face-to-face meetings. The earlier in the week you make these connections, the more fun and interesting the conference becomes. You can find our group on Chatter here.

Give yourself plenty of time

The Moscone Center is massive – literally huge. So we suggest you utilise the agenda builder on Chatter to organise which sessions you want to visit and when. Otherwise you could find yourself running from one side of the Moscone Centre to the other.

With more than 50,000 people expected to attend,  the place is going to  be jam packed! So if you want a good seat when Benioff takes the stage, (Wednesday 9 – 11am in case it’s not already in your diary) you’ll need to show up at least 45 minutes beforehand. The same applies if you want to grab a coffee in Starbucks before the keynote – get in the line early. This brings me onto my next point…

Stay fuelled

The events and after parties are well known to drain the strength of even the strongest of Dreamforce veterans, so make sure you grab as much of the free food as you can. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than the usual Salesforce Box lunches, this blog post has some great suggestions for restaurants within walking distance or further afield. I’m looking forward to trying the grilled cheese!  This isn’t the time to count calories – besides you can always burn it off in the “mosh pit” rocking out to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers!

Be social not shy!

Dreamforce is the social event of the year. Get stuck in, strike up conversations with people, attend the parties and most importantly have a good time. You can learn so much about ways to benefit your company just by having a conversation and looking at solution vendors. So my number one piece of advice would be to go to the expo and visit every booth! Share the information with your colleagues and brainstorm new ways of implementing the lessons learned. And make sure you have  plenty of business cards, you will return with none – trust me!

Put the phone down

Although Dreamforce is the social event of the year, constantly being attached to your phone is a massive turn off to potential contacts and you will most likely miss something important. So put down the phone and talk to people face-to-face.

Dress to last, not to impress

This is more of a tip for the ladies, but also applies to men! Dreamforce days start early and with some of the after parties going on to the early hours, you’ll likely be in the same outfit from 7am until 3am the following morning. So you need to make sure you’re wearing light outfits and comfy shoes – Dreamforce is not the place to showcase your latest pair of Jimmy Choos!

Last but not least

We’ll be there again this year, so do drop by and visit us at booth #140, you might even win $500! You can stay up to date by reading our Dreamforce tweets follow us at @pca_plus. Or, see what everyone is saying about the event by following the hashtag #df12.

Above all, remember that Dreamforce is just like trying to tour the Louvre in one day; You’re never going to see it all, so don’t  wear yourself out trying to. Whether you’re a seasoned conference-goer or a Dreamforce virgin, this conference is the best opportunity to learn about the newest technologies that are changing the way companies work.

If you’re a fellow Dreamforce veteran feel free to add you own advice below.