This article was originally focused on preparation for a specific conference, the Salesforce Dreamforce conference. Since the conference has now passed, it serves more as a general guide for preparing to make the most of any conference. (U2 probably won’t be performing.)
While just getting to see U2 in concert or Tony Robbins on the big stage may be your reason for attending Salesforce’s Dreamforce event this year, you may want to use your employer’s gift of the registration fee to learn a thing or two about the tech and develop key professional relationships as well.
In that case, the best thing you can do for yourself to truly make the most of the opportunity will be to 1) brush up on your core Salesforce skills in advance, and 2) plan out how you will use your time at the conference.
Preparation before the Conference
Training to Update Skills
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Whichever learning format and content best fits your needs, there is no doubt that by updating your knowledge of what the technology can already do, you will best be able to understand the many presentations on how it will be changing in the months following Dreamforce.
Planning to Network
Is there someone you’ve been wanting to make contact with to request the opportunity to pitch your services, or get questions answered, or even find a new job in the field? How about strengthening relationships with virtual friends and associates?
Plan out those coffee dates. As powerful as the work sessions and presentations are, Dreamforce is also a great opportunity for informal networking. You’ve got plenty of time to send out some invites for meal or coffee breaks with key people in your industry. Plan for success.
Making the Most of Your Time Once at Dreamforce
Once you’ve updated your skills and scheduled a few coffee dates, you’ll want to pay attention to the track(s) that best fit your learning needs. Don’t just hop around or tag along with friends all week.
Consider what your job role is and how knowing what’s coming in new platform features in advance will give you an advantage over those who chose not to attend the event. Make the most of the opportunity with targeted learning once onsite.
There will be over 1,500 available sessions, and that’s in addition to the vendor expo and speeches. You may want to plan your path through the conference by your industry, job role, or by one of the many themes the sessions have been organized by.
Some of the themes with the most offerings (with the number of available sessions under that theme) include:
- Innovation – 453
- Tips & Tricks – 477
- Integration – 311
- Emerging Small Business – 208
- Enterprise – 474
- Sales Productivity – 386
- Leadership – 165
That’s a lot of options. See why you’ll never make the most of the conference just winging it?
So what will your Dreamforce plan be, both in terms of preparation in advance and efficient use of your time once there?
Extra: Be sure to watch for my upcoming article on the best of Dreamforce after the October event.