Last week, I talked why I think you should attend Dreamforce. Now that you’re going, how do you prepare? What should you pack? How do you get the most out of your event.
I’m a big list maker. Some of you may recall my Dreamforce To Do List last year. Lots of people were interested. This year, I’ve expanded and I’m being more organized.
The First List
This first list is things I need to do MONTHS in advance.
- Make the list – I know it’s silly but it feels good to cross something off right away.
- Buy new shoes. By the time Dreamforce rolls around my comfy shoes are trashed. To go to Dreamforce with brand new shoes is a mistake. You want to have them comfortably broken in before you have to do all that standing, walking, and dancing.
- Buy new shoe inserts. I prefer the gel ones since they last forever. Ideally, I buy my preferred inserts and take them shoe shopping so I buy shoes that fit well with the insert inside them. I did the inverse last year and had to decide between tight shoes or sore feet
- Buy a battery pack for your phone/tablet/laptop. I purchased a New Trent battery pack for Dreamforce last year and it made life much easier. No more hunting for a plugin during the day. There are many external battery packs out there. New Trent and Lime Fuel are some of the most recommended ones. Buy at one and try it out so there’s no surprising at showtime
- Write out a list of topics you want to learn about.
- Prioritize the list you just wrote. You’re not going to be able to get to everything. So what’s most important to you?
- Start your networking list. Who are the people you want to meet?
The Next List
This is a list of things I do in the month or two before the show
- Work on my Dreamforce session presentations. This is the third year I’m presenting. I would love to have these done months in advanced, but the scary truth is many of us are working on our presentations even up-to the week before!
- Find my Luggage – You need something to pack in. I don’t travel too often and so my luggage tends to get lost in the house
- Clean Suit or other dress clothes. I have two cats. I also have two toddlers. My kids have learned how to make anything messy a ballistic weapon. Last year, my cats figured out how to open and crawl into my suit bag…
- Review posted sessions and make a priority list. Most sessions will be available to preview at least the title if not the title and abstract before session registration begins. Take the topic list you made and start grabbing sessions that meet that topic. Also make a list of sessions that are interesting that are NOT on that topic list.
- Prioritize your session list. You won’t get to everything. When the schedule is out and session sign-up is ready there will be many conflicts and much woe. Be prepared. Know what’s most important to you first. My suggestion – Prioritize roadmap sessions since they are not recorded and prioritize HOTs (Hands On Training).
Session Sign Up
The things I do about the time sessions sign up is available. This is typically just a few weeks before Dreamforce
- Sign up for sessions. I know it seems like a “duh” thing to have on the list but this is important. Take your session priority list and go sign up
- Bookmark sessions you can’t attend and join the chatter groups. You may have some last minute decision making at the show. Bookmark sessions you’ll go as back ups. Plus joining the chatter group is a good way to know when the slides and youtube recording is available
- Participate in the pre-session chatter. This is important. You can find a lot about the session before Dreamforce. Session speakers may ask questions and provide answers to potential attendees. You may find out that you don’t actually need to attend this session and go book another one. You may also find some great contacts for future networking… which you’ll add to your networking list… right?
- Start the Packing list
The Packing List
This is the list of things you want to pack. This is important because it can be very easy to forget things.
- Snacks – it’s going to be a long trip and you’ll get hungry. Pack some snacks and save yourself from waiting in line at the Starbucks
- Layers of clothing – The weather is going to be something special. Comfy during the day, chill at night. Plus you’ll be going in an our all day long. Bring clothing in layers. Shirt sleeves, long sleeves, light jacket etc
- Laptop, tablet, phone, chargers, and extra battery packs
- Business Cards
- Power Strip – best way to make friends if you do have to stand at the outlet
- Post Dreamforce clothes – Jeans, tshirts, be comfy!
- Wizard Robe & Wizard Hat – I’ll admit this probably isn’t on everyone’s list
Last Moments Get Ready
Here’s are the things I do shortly before leaving on a jet plane.
- Make space on phone and tablet. You’ll want that space and you’ll want your devices running face. Back up any photos/videos you don’t need to be carrying with you to Dreamforce and clear off that memory!
- Grab the Dreamforce App – Typically a new version comes out shortly before the show. Grab it and try it out.
- Post more questions to the sessions Chatter… Seriously it’s a great resource
- Print & Check-in on flights
- Get a Hair Cut – Got to look dapper!
- Review all lists!
One list Remaining
There’s one list remaining and that’s what to do while at Dreamforce… That’s another post!
Get Pumped Up!
There’s many ways to get excited. Posting on the session Chatter is a good way. Sharing stories on Twitter is another. You can also watch the videos, music, and skits the community will put out there to share in the excitement.
Here’s an example. Ryan Headley wrote a song based on the popular hashtag #WhySFDCAdminsDrink. His song, “That’s why Admins Drink” was shared last week.
You can listen to it here: http://www.reverbnation.com/dammitandy/song/21493633-thats-why-admins-drink.
You can also read about his blog at http://www.sudovi.com/thats-why-admins-drink/
One last little plug for Ryan. He wants to make a professional recording for “That’s why Admins Drink” and has started a Kickstarter to get funds for the studio time. He deadline is August 20. If you like the song and want to help go over an chip in a few bucks Support Here.