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Get The Most Out Of Your Time At Dreamforce

Get The Most Out Of Your Time At Dreamforce

As you’ll see from the conference landing page, we describe Dreamforce as “Four days that will change the way you think about business.” The nature of that change — from the people you meet to the insights you’ll learn — is really up to you. There’s no shortage of opportunities to get actionable

As you’ll see from the conference landing page, we describe Dreamforce as “Four days that will change the way you think about business.”

The nature of that change — from the people you meet to the insights you’ll learn — is really up to you.

There’s no shortage of opportunities to get actionable ideas at Dreamforce, whether it’s checking out some of the more than 50 keynotes or some of the more than 2,700 breakout sessions, workshops and circles of success. The mark of a true Trailblazer is how you prepare for what you want to accomplish, long before you set foot in San Francisco to meet with experts and your peers.

Some of the basics would probably apply to attending many other industry events, but they bear repeating: wear some comfortable shoes, because you might find yourself walking a lot! Allot yourself enough time to enjoy meals and to stay hydrated. Pack enough business cards to help continue any conversations you start at Dreamforce with other attendees.

Other than that, there are a few more specific tips — think of them as Dreamforce best practices — that will help you maximize your time with moments of inspiration as well as education:

1. Set goals based around your audience’s post-event needs

Even if you come to Dreamforce with a group of your coworkers, there will probably be a few team members who don’t make it out. This could include your boss, whether that’s the CEO of the entire company or someone to whom you directly report.

In some cases you might be formally asked or required to present some of what you saw and heard at Dreamforce, whether as an agenda item on an existing meeting or as a more informal lunch ’n learn. That means, as you attend Dreamforce, you keep some of their potential questions or everyday pain points top of mind.

Don’t limit this to those in your immediate department or line of business. If you’re a sales rep coming to Dreamforce, think about what might be useful to your colleagues in marketing. If you’re a marketer, stay alert for fresh thinking or perspectives on the art of customer service.

“Audience” in this case could also mean your customers, who may share challenges or would be interested in some of the strategies and tactics you hear about during Dreamforce. Some of this could be relayed through conversations, but it could also become fodder for your blog or other channels. Which brings us to our next tip:

2. Capture the takeaways rather than commit to memory

“Nota bene” is simply Latin for “take note,” and Dreamforce is a notetaker’s paradise.

You’ll hear quotable lines from senior business leaders, tech tips from certified pros and enlightening ways to overcome hurdles from Trailblazers around the world. Unless you were born with the power of perfect or photographic recollection, though, you’ll need to actively jot things down.

If you don’t love working with pen or paper, that’s okay. There are apps like Quip that were tailor-made for digital note taking. Other options include using an audio recording app (which could allow you to turn your Dreamforce experiences into a podcast episode) or video recorder.

Social media is also a handy real-time note taking mechanism. Live-tweet your favourite Dreamforce session, for example, and at the end you’ll have the equivalent of rough notes you can flesh out after you’ve come back to the office.

3. Make your own expo map

Beyond keynotes and sessions, however, Dreamforce also offers one of the most dynamic exhibit halls in the tech industry. You’ll need to carve out some time during the four days to make it there so you can see not only what’s new from Salesforce, but also how our ecosystem of partners is using Salesforce as a platform to develop other innovative applications.

While there’s always value in serendipitous discovery, you can get a sense of who will be on site by browsing the list of sponsors. Exhibitors are usually happy to set up specific times to walk through demos and answer questions so you can still make it to the keynotes and breakouts you want.

4. Use mobility to balance work, play and giving

People come to Dreamforce to grow professionally, but that doesn’t mean fun should be left off the agenda.

As you use the Dreamforce app to determine the best possible schedule, ensure you’re not only connecting with customers, prospects, experts and peers in formal settings. Dreamforce will include parties, concerts and other ways to blow off steam while fostering relationships with new acquaintances or those you’ve met before.

Dreamforce is also a unique time to think beyond your own development or your company’s objectives, and ways to contribute to the greater good. There has been a longstanding tradition at Dreamforce of creating opportunities to volunteer or donate to the worthiest of causes. In fact, Dreamforce attendees have helped Salesforce raise $73 million to date. This year’s event will take us even further.

5. Upgrade your goals

You may arrive at Dreamforce with some specific targets you need to hit at work, whether it’s a sales quota, a number of leads generated through marketing or a reduction in time spent resolving service issues.

As you listen to speakers and talk to other Trailblazers, think about how the ideas you gather might allow you to refine those targets, or maybe set new goals that align with them. These could include a boost in productivity, in the number of deals you close, campaign performance or the number of customers your firm is able to retain.

The name “Dreamforce” hints at the idea that this is no ordinary business conference. It’s a place to think big — and then execute on the ideas you’ve developed to generate even bigger results.

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