Here are some tips:
- 1. Just go to the session
If there is a session or speaker you want to see and you did not register for that session, just show up. More often then not I have been able to get a seat at all the sessions I am interested in because attendees sign up for sessions only to get distracted by all the ongoing activities (Ping-Pong in the courtyard). Even if you don’t get into a session that interests you, be sure to make note of it because a video recording of the session will be posted after the conference.
2. Take advantage of “hands-on” learning
There are two types of hands-on learning. The first are the hands-on sessions, which often include a tutorial for a specific skill and allow you the opportunity to ask the instructors for help. It is a great way to prove to yourself that you can do things you used to reserve for “techies.” The second is the developer zone office hours (they change the name every year but basically the same concept) where you can sit down with a developer and show them something you are trying to get done in Salesforce and like a tutor, they teach you the solutions. These slots fill up fast so sign-up early.
3. Go to the expos first – or not
There are three stops you want to make during your free time at Dreamforce, the order will depend on what is most important to you. First, is the main expo. I go there first thing 1) because I am always excited to see what new applications are on the horizon and 2) because I wear a size small t-shirt and those run out fast! Second, is the developer zone. Here you can get the developer workbooks, helpful references for learning how to modify Salesforce, and also score some of the best swag. Last year I got a Salesforce sweatshirt that I still wear constantly. Third, is the Salesforce Foundation expo that is filled with nonprofit consulting firms (if you are looking for one of these don’t forget to give us a ring too) and apps specific for nonprofit fundraising and volunteer management.
Overall, Dreamforce is an exciting yet overwhelming place. Make sure you show up with a list of questions/ things you want to learn and while you are there write down any notes or features that seem interesting. Remember Dreamforce is not a place to make decisions; it is a place to get ideas. Have fun!