Dreamforce, You Don’t Have To Do Or Know Everything

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You did it! You finally convinced your boss to send you to Dreamforce (Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco). It’s a very exciting experience, but you can quickly be overwhelmed if you don’t know what to expect. Salesforce works very hard to make everything as easy as possible for Dreamforce attendees. If you keep the following in mind, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience.

Plan ahead

Salesforce releases an agenda builder before the conference where attendees can view all available sessions . The information contains the speakers/presenters, location, duration, and details about the topic. You can bookmark/register for sessions. I suggest doing this in a few rounds. The sessions are listed by date and time, so go through and bookmark all those that interest you. There’s no limit on how many you can bookmark. Many sessions are repeated and available multiple times throughout the week. After you’ve bookmarked all that interest you, you can go through your agenda and finalize your schedule.  There is a Salesforce Events app for your phone  ̶  this is a must. With this app, you can keep track of your schedule, change your schedule, see all available sessions, join quests to win prizes, and more. The app also provides directions to the sessions and events you’re attending.

Don’t expect to attend every session you bookmarked

The sessions at Dreamforce are artfully crafted with catchy titles and descriptions. This makes it easy to want to sign up for one session after another, after another, after another. The reality is, you won’t be able to get to all of them for a couple of reasons: 1) sessions are held at multiple locations throughout the city, so you can’t always get from the previous session to the next session on time and 2) many sessions have long wait lines. Things can change moment to moment at Dreamforce. It’s ok if you don’t make it to your sessions. Putting pressure on yourself to get to everything you originally signed up for will cause unnecessary stress.

Salesforce has you covered for lunch

When you are going from session to session, you might not have time for a long, drawn-out lunch. You may also be on a tight per diem limit with your company. Luckily, a Salesforce-provided lunch is available during each full day of the conference for all attendees with a full-conference pass. Lunch is provided at multiple locations for convenience. You just need to show your badge.

You’ll need to take some breaks

Between the mental overload of information that you’re going to get, to the hustle and bustle of being around 170,000 other attendees (not to mention the thousands of non-Salesforce pedestrians on the street), to the 10,000 plus steps you’ll be taking each day, you are going to get tired. It’s important to take breaks throughout the day. If you’re lucky enough to get a hotel in the downtown area, close to the Moscone center, be sure to get back to your room at some point in the day to check your emails, take a break, and try to recharge. I recommend doing this at least once each day. It will help you get through the later sessions better. If you are not at a hotel that’s close, you have the option to go back to your hotel with one of the shuttles that run throughout the day, but that could take a good chunk out of your day. If you can’t get back to your hotel, at least try to step away from the sessions and the exhibits by getting outside for some fresh air. There are places in the park to sit and relax or at the hotels where some of the sessions take place. Oh, and make sure you wear comfortable shoes…you’re going to need them.

Salesforce doesn’t want you to get lost

Throughout the Moscone Center, the participating hotels, and even on the city streets, you will see plenty of people who can offer information on where you need to go. Some of those people are dressed as rangers, others have Salesforce shirts that say, “Ask Me,” and others have the same shirts but are holding signs. They are there to help you, and they’re very nice. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You can get certified at a discount

Dreamforce is a very inspiring event. When you’re there, you’re going to be revved up about wanting to learn more and do more with this amazing tool. During Dreamforce, you can take certification exams at half the price. This opens the door for taking twice as many certifications or for trying a certification that you may not be fully prepared for but want to see if you can pass. If you get certified during the conference, you’ll be eligible for some certified swag…usually a t-shirt or a hat. If you’re not taking a certification exam during the conference but are already certified, you can go over to the Trailhead area to pick up your certified swag. They can check your credentials there.

You can work hard and play hard at Dreamforce

During the conference, Salesforce and some of their partners host events for attendees. Once you register, you may start receiving emails that you’ve been invited to a breakfast, lunch, or a happy hour. This is a great opportunity for you to meet others and get spoiled a little with food, drinks, and maybe even some swag. Also, on Wednesday night of the conference, Salesforce hosts a huge party/benefit concert. They deliver top talent each year. Some of that talent has included Fleetwood Mac, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Metallica. If you have the chance to attend the concert, do it. It’s such a fun event. You literally walk into Oracle Park, take whichever seat you want (that isn’t already taken), and grab whatever food or drink you want. It’s quite amazing and unlike any other concert experience you’ll ever have.

I could go on and on about what Dreamforce is like, but I’ll sum it up like this…if you have the opportunity to attend Dreamforce, take it. It is overwhelming, but it can be very inspiring and beneficial. If you can’t attend Dreamforce, you can get a lot of the information shared at Dreamforce online. Salesforce makes their keynote speeches available and you can find many of the recorded sessions on YouTube. I hope you get the chance to attend at least once in your life.

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