Final words of advice for Dreamforce attendees #DF12


Starting today, more than 40,000 B2B sales & marketing professionals are expected to descend upon San Francisco for the annual Dreamforce conference. We’ve written and spoken about how to make the most of this event (for attendees and exhibitors), but here are a few final words of advice. These, by the way, apply to pretty much any event you’re committed to attending in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Be present
I know there’s still a ton of work to do back at the office, and if you’re not careful you can spend the entire trip on conference calls, catching up on email, and basically still doing your day job while ignoring the opportunities in front of you. Why make the trip if you’re just going to stay in your hotel room and keep your regular schedule? Allow yourself to reschedule, delay or ignore your regular work schedule so you can really soak in and learn from the conference.

Allow for serendipitous moments
If you’re entire week is scheduled, you have no opportunity to take advantage of unplanned, spontaneous and unexpected opportunities that WILL pop up. It’s smart to have a plan and schedule going in, but give yourself flexibility to adjust your schedule, change your plans and otherwise “be present” when new opportunities arise.

If you have to work, do so in a public place

Three years ago at Dreamforce, I ran into a former colleague who had just taken a new job as COO of a fast-growing start-up. That chance conversation turned into one of the largest, ongoing business relationships for our growing business the following year. And where did I meet him? It wasn’t planned. I was catching up on email from a bean bag chair on the side of a busy thoroughfare. If you have a choice of catching up on work in your hotel room or in a public place, choose the latter. Those serendipitous moments are more likely there.

Start every day with a full charge

Bring enough chargers to refuel all of your devices every night. Don’t expect to recharge midway through the day or borrow cords from others.

Have a pen and paper with you at all times
This is easy advice during the keynotes and sessions. But don’t be without something to write on at a Starbucks, for a chance encounter in an elevator, and even at the evening networking parties. Be ready to job down an idea, contact information or other important insights at any time.

Bring 3x the business cards you think you’ll need
Better to take plenty back home than run out at the worst time.

This goes for more than just the evening parties and networking events. You’ll be running from meeting to meeting, not eating right, stressed and more. The least you can do is make sure you’re hydrated and at your most active and alert throughout the day.

Below is a full Best Practices Guide for Dreamforce that works for most other conferences as well. See you in San Francisco!