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How To Enjoy Dreamforce As An Introvert

How To Enjoy Dreamforce As An Introvert

Dreamforce is based on the idea of creating an environment where everyone who’s part of our larger Ohana community can feel they belong. Although it’s well known for its large crowds, hands-on workshops and seemingly endless networking opportunities, your Dreamforce agenda should include plenty of

Dreamforce is based on the idea of creating an environment where everyone who’s part of our larger Ohana community can feel they belong.

Although it’s well known for its large crowds, hands-on workshops and seemingly endless networking opportunities, your Dreamforce agenda should include plenty of opportunities for quiet reflection on what you see, hear and learn. This may be especially important for people who identify as introverts and feel exhausted at the thought of non-stop small talk.

Unlike shyness, which tends to be based on a fear of interacting with others, introverts have a preference for situations that avoid overstimulation. After all, not all sales people are extroverts — it’s a role that can and should attract all kinds of personalities.

At first glance, a large technology and business conference might not seem like the ideal setting for introverts, but staying away isn’t the answer. There’s too much value in the education and inspiration you’ll hear from those at the forefront of sales, marketing and customer service to bypass the opportunities Dreamforce offers.

Instead, anyone coming to Dreamforce should recognize that a big part of their experience is based on how they choose to participate. It’s a matter of planning and preparation, in other words, where introverts think about the outcomes they want and engage at Dreamforce accordingly.

Here are a few ways to get started with that process, long before you touch down in San Francisco:

Set some Dreamforce conversation KPIs

Many of us are laser-focused on key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the health of our business. This could include the number of customers who have opted into our marketing messages, deals closed and so on. Introverts could apply a similar approach that treats their self-care as a priority amid Dreamforce activities.

Some examples of those KPIs could include things like fatigue or clarity of thought. Following a keynote or breakout session, for example, what kind of time will you likely need on your own before moving onto the next thing on your agenda? Dreamforce is filled with more sessions than will ever be possible for one person to attend, so don’t worry about making room for time to process what you’re thinking or feeling.

Do a little check-in with yourself at the end of each day, or the middle of the day. Is the pace you’ve set working? If not, don’t be afraid to change it up as Dreamforce continues.

Choose content that fuels conversation

It probably goes without saying that you want to pick sessions at Dreamforce that are relevant to your business goals, industry or role, but that criteria might not be granular enough to make your final selections. For introverts, one other factor to consider is whether the content will give you something to talk about with new people you might meet.

Look for speakers or panels that might give you ideas you’ll actually be eager to bounce off a new acquaintance, for example. Choose sessions that might inspire you to ask questions, whether it’s of a speaker or other attendees afterwards.

Just being able to compare notes, see what others agree or disagree with or compare your experience with someone else’s can help ease the flow of conversations that can’t be avoided.

Schedule some in-depth discussions

Lots of companies use Dreamforce to connect on site with their customers of course, but even beyond that, look for a few fellow attendees with whom you could pre-arrange a chat. This can be an ideal way for introverts to feel more in control of the way they manage their time and energy, rather than getting trapped in networking limbo.

These pre-arranged chats could be “informational interviews” to better understand your peer’s secrets of success, their approach to using Salesforce, or simply to see if you can help them in some way.

Having conversations that are “meaty” will feel more satisfying, and might make it easier if there’s some small talk experiences later on.

Accumulate some emergency icebreakers

Even with the best-laid plans, you might find yourself cornered unexpectedly during a break, or in a situation where a speaker suggests everyone turn to their neighbour and spend a few minutes getting to know each other.

Instead of approaching such conversations with dread, come to Dreamforce with a few opening lines that can be used almost universally. Here are a few you could tweak and make your own:

  • What’s been your biggest Dreamforce takeaway so far?
  • Are you on Trailhead yet? What’s your favourite Trailhead badge?
  • What’s on your Dreamforce must-do list, whether it’s for work or fun?

Satisfy the extroverts via social media

Being an introvert doesn’t mean ignoring everyone else around you, but interacting in a way that makes the most sense for your well-being.

In some cases, social media can provide a great alternative to sharing your thoughts, feelings and ideas with fellow Dreamforce attendees. Ask questions of speakers or panelists that you might not want to track down in the Moscone Center afterwards. Like or reshare comments from attendees you agree with, maybe adding some of your own feedback or two cents.

This might not work for everyone, but it can be a way to feel engaged without having to constantly feel pressured to interact in person.

Opt out of the non-essential

You don’t have to go to every cocktail party. You don’t have to mix and mingle every time a session ends and people stand up to leave. It is perfectly okay to eat lunch in a quiet spot by yourself, or to spend an evening in your hotel room versus exploring San Francisco.

You may be an introvert, but you still have agency! This is your Dreamforce, so make sure you assert your right to make it the kind of conference that gives you what you need to be successful long after you leave.

Just as growing a business means focusing on delivering a great customer experience, attending a conference like Dreamforce means designing the best possible experience for yourself.

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