Dreamforce is rapidly approaching. If you're exhibiting, nearly all your major deadlines have passed. Your booth is largely planned. Catering orders have been placed. Graphics have been sent to the printer.
Dreamforce can be overwhelming for even longtime attendees and exhibitors. And if you have never exhibited before, brace yourself. The event draws more than 130,000 registered attendees, a number that's probably eclipsed by the actual number of people who attend parts of the event. It can't be contained by San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center and sprawls across Bay Area.
Here are a few tips you can use on site to help navigate the crowds and make your Dreamforce experience as efficient as possible.
1) Pack light
Some items are essential, like a smartphone. Others are nice to have for giving demos, like a tablet or laptop. But remember, whatever you bring, you're going to be lugging it around all day. If you're like most Dreamforce attendees, your hotel room won't be anywhere near the convention center. It might not even be in the same city, so don't plan on running back to the room to grab anything. On site, there are no good places to stash or check your bags. At your booth, space will be limited and you don't want prospects to see too many bags lying around on the floor. If you can leave it in your hotel room, leave it.
2) Don't carry a purse
If you do need to bring more than a few items with you, use a backpack. If you carry a purse regularly, you might be tempted to bring one onto the expo floor. Fight that temptation. Backpacks can actually fit all the junk you'll need on site. Plus they have padded straps. Comfort wins over fashion here.
3) Stay hydrated
Like a transatlantic flight, working a Dreamforce booth for a few days will leave you extremely dried out. The climate-controlled environment inside the expo hall resembles a desert. Drink lots of water during the day and keep some chapstick on hand. Your lips will thank you.
4) Keep your batteries charged
An external battery pack for your phone, tablet and laptop will keep you juiced up. But external chargers are also useful sales tools. Keep prospects at your booth for a few extra minutes by offering to charge their device.
5) Your breath stinks. Bring mints.
According to salesforce, about 5,000 gallons of coffee are consumed during Dreamforce. If you're downing coffee and skipping meals -- and who has time to eat during Dreamforce? -- your breath is probably awful. Bring some mints and use them liberally to keep your conference-breath under control.
6) Respect your feet
The thin carpet in the expo hall covers unforgiving concrete floors. If you're working a booth or spending much time visiting them, you not only need comfortable shoes, but you also need some gel inserts to make them even more comfortable. Your feet will still hurt at the end of the day, but they'll hurt a little less if you don't abuse them.
Bonus tip: Plan your badge swaps in advance
Dreamforce registration is expensive. Many (if not all) companies send more employees to the event than they pay for. For everyone to get the most out of the conference, some badge swapping has to happen. Plan this out well in advance and set up meeting points before hand. Don't expect to be able to coordinate these meetings on the fly by exchanging a few text messages. It's way to crazy for that.
In the past, I've used a spreadsheet to coordinate these handoffs -- it's that complicated. I like to use the Chipotle between Moscone North and Moscone West as a meeting point -- it's easy to find and delicious. Another nice spot is the top of the stairs directly next to Moscone North. It's a little out of the way, and quiet enough to quickly debrief.
Good luck out there and stop by the PersistIQ booth!
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