5 Tips to Help Prepare for Dreamforce ’12

How to prepare for dreamforce 2012

With Dreamforce now only a few weeks away, preparations are beginning to ramp up (or maybe starting to die down, depending on how much prep work your company has already done). Dreamforce is the industry’s biggest cloud computing and enterprise industry event of the year — and with more than 70,000 attendees and 750 expert-led sessions, there’s a lot to think about before boarding that plane to San Francisco.

Whether you’re a marketer, sales rep, developer, department director, or manager, Dreamforce has something to offer everyone. But it will be hard to take advantage of all of the benefits of attending if you come unprepared. As you mark off your calendars in anticipation of September 18th, spend some time attending to the items on the list below:

1. Know your schedule. You can use Dreamforce’s Agenda Builder to scan through available sessions and build out a schedule for yourself. It’s even available on your mobile device via the Dreamforce app. When you’re choosing sessions, try to pick a mixture of topics that you already know about (but want to know more) along with topics that are new to you. Choose sessions that focus on where the industry is headed, or on strategies that you’d like to start implementing in your professional life. Keep in mind that certain topics might catch your eye once you get to Dreamforce, so leave a little wiggle room in your schedule to jump into sessions that interest you.

2. Network before you get to Dreamforce. We all know that you’re expected to mix and mingle once you get there, but you can lay a lot of groundwork before the event even starts. Join relevant facebook pages, follow important industry leaders who will be at the event, and use Dreamforce Chatter to join groups, collaborate with other attendees, and get up-to-the-minute updates on any killer demos or fun after-hours events. You can even use Chatter to keep up with people you meet after the event is over, so it’s a good idea to already be familiar with the tool.

3. Sign up for any relevant clinics, assessments, and meetups. These tend to fill up pretty quickly, so find out when you can register and be prepared to sign up. There many clinics and meetups specific to certain job functions, such as skill assessments and code consultations for developers. If you’re a small business, consider taking advantage of Dreamforce’s new Small Business Experience, which incorporates special keynote speakers, sessions, and meetups.

4. Familiarize yourself with the area. Dreamforce is going to be jam packed with action, so you’ll want to make sure you know where you can grab a bite to eat, pick up a quick cup of coffee, and refuel whenever you have any downtime. Finding a few minutes of quiet during those long days can help you rejuvenate, so you’ll be ready to jump back in when it’s time for those after-hours events.

5. Brush up on your Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’ll be performing during the opening night gala, so look up some of the lyrics so that you can impress your friends while singing along to “Dani California.” Just kidding (or are we?).

If you’ve attended Dreamforce or any other conferences in the past, what other tips can you offer to help prepare? Let us know in the comments below!