Dreamforce is almost here and it's going to be huge. But don't let that deter you from getting some serious networking in.  With more than 100,000 people expected in four days you can't expect to make a meaningful personal connection with everyone--but there are ways to make sure you get the most out of your experience.

1. Chatter now. (I mean right now)

Registering for Dreamforce gives you access to the Dreamforce App.  This app is your opportunity to connect before you even set foot on the Dreamforce Campus.  Your “secret sauce” for an awesome Dreamforce experience, including your agenda, transportation information, and campus map.  Groups in Dreamforce Chatter cover a very wide range of topics, giving you a number of options for finding others with common interests.  Find the groups that work for you and introduce yourself.

Kevin_200x300You could connect by business area of interest/expertise:

Love running? First time to Dreamforce?  You’ll be amazed how many options there are:

And a number of large companies have groups for their attendees. Search for groups in the Dreamforce App if you haven't seen anything of interest yet and remember, you can always create a new one!

2. Think globally, start locally

Whether you’re close enough to drive to Dreamforce or crossing half the planet to get here, chances are there’s already a group in the Dreamforce App for connecting with your fellow travelers.  Meet others “local” to you before arriving, that way you’ll be starting with at least one thing in common. You can always build from there and meet people from all around the world.

For the US and Canada there are a number of Chatter groups for User Groups and locations:

Your location isn't listed here? Search for other groups in the Dreamforce App.  

3. Work your sessions like a pro

IMG_4657Sessions and keynotes are central to Dreamforce--attend as many as you can.  Add them to your agenda using the Agenda Builder.  (You should be adding things like the Data.com Keynote: Grow Faster With The Right Data at the Right Moment to your agenda right away--attending could win you 2 tickets to the Super Bowl!) 

Sessions can also be an excellent way to connect with speakers and fellow attendees.  Let’s say for instance you’ve added Cracking the Code on Social Selling-How Salesforce + Data.com + LinkedIn = Club to your agenda. Not only will you learn about leveraging social media for selling (and networking), you’ll have a chance to connect with some awesome influencers from LinkedIn, Pandora, Sales Benchmark Index, and Vanella Group. Jump in on the Chatter for that session, introduce yourself, let your speakers know what excites you about the session.  Taking the time to introduce yourself and help them understand what drew you to the session will help you stand out at the event.

Get to your sessions a few minutes early so you can get a good seat near the front.  (Cool kids don’t sit in the back anymore.)  If you’re planning to introduce yourself after the session, it’d be best for the speakers to see you near the front looking interested and engaged. Getting there early also gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the other attendees around you.  When the session ends, if your goal is to meet the speakers, just head to the front.  I know Dreamforce speakers are rock stars, but remember there’s no need to rush the stage.

4. "Rest" wisely

Df13-mobile-appWith so much going on at Dreamforce it’s perfectly natural to expect you’ll need time to stop and “rest” periodically.   These can be perfect opportunities for you to squeeze in more networking with only a little planning.  The Dreamforce team always does an awesome job setting up lounges and spaces for taking a breath, meeting up with others, sharing expertise, or checking in with the office.  Check out all the spaces available  you on the the Dreamforce 2013 Campus Map.

Lounges aren’t your thing?  Check out the awesome advice from Matt Heinz for using the casual moments to your advantage in his 4 Reasons Attending Events in Person is So Important blog post:

“If you need to catch up on email, do so in the hotel lobby or in a public place so you’re more likely to run into someone you know. Invite new people to lunch or dinner or drinks to get to know them better, and learn from them. If you do eat alone, do so at a location close to the conference and eat at the bar. You’ll likely be sitting next to someone else from the conference.” –Matt Heinz

5. Give a little to get a lot

IMG_6002Volunteering is part of our culture and Wednesday is Foundation Day in the Dreamforce Plaza.   Keep up to date with all the volunteering plans by joining the Volunteering at Dreamforce 2013 Chatter group. Take the Pro Bono Pledge.  Check out everything the saleforce.com Foundation has to offer.  And remember, volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people and take a break from your sessions while also giving back to the community.   

6. Network at night

During Dreamforce, it seems like everyone is having an after-hours event.  By all means enjoy, just remember you’re representing your brand (both company and personal).  Also, most parties require an RSVP so plan ahead.  Check out the After Hours Parties group in the Dreamforce App for updates on what's going on and you might want to check out some of these other resources:

Also, the Marketing Cloud team will be sending out SMS updates with pointers to the best parties of the week. Text "journey" to 38767 to sign up.

Been to Dreamforce before?  What are your secrets to networking?