As the Salesforce community continues to grow in both size and pull, events like these attract more and more new attendees. If you’re one of them, or if you’re not yet signed up but considering it, here are ten quick tips to help you get the most out of your day.
Let’s start with an easy one…
1) DO go!
Sure, it’s not the event on the Salesforce calendar – that would be the huge Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. But it’s a long wait between Dreamforces and the wait between Dreamforces you can afford to travel to and stay at is even longer. So take advantage of what is a kind of mini-Dreamforce, on your own doorstep and, best of all, completely free.
2) DON’T expect to be able to see and do everything
Although smaller than Dreamforce and with fewer sessions, the reduced event duration and choice of content often mean that sessions can clash and will almost certainly be oversubscribed. Decide which sessions are the most important to you and arrive at them early – 10-15 minutes should be early enough to get you a spot in the inevitable queue.
3) DO attend hands-on training…
When planning which sessions you want to attend, be sure to include at least one of the hands-on training classes (see the list of those revealed so far on the event’s agenda). These are really valuable, well-paced sessions which take a particular topic and help you develop your knowledge and practical experience of it. To take part, you’ll need to bring a laptop, and carrying that around all day will need to be taken into account, but the effort will pay you back. In fact, if you’re trying to get your employer to see the benefit of letting you take the day off to attend the tour, just one of these sessions alone will validate and repay your attendance.
4) …and DON’T skip the expo
It’s really tempting to reject the expo hall as a place to be avoided, somewhere where a bunch of companies are just trying to sell to you. And, to be blunt, that’s not a million miles off. But the exhibitors are all ISVs from the Force.com ecosystem – these are companies that Salesforce trusts, have partnered with, and have chosen to represent their ISV community at official events like this. So do wander round the stands, and look out for cool tools you never knew existed. You may not need any of the tools right now, you may not need them in the next year, you may not ever need them in your current role, but if you ever come across a new problem, a new question or a new client requirement somewhere down the line, you’ll have a greater chance of solving it if you know what kind of add-on tools are available out there. And that’s worth giving up your email address for, isn’t it?
5) DO meet new people…
The world tour events serve up an excellent chance to get immersed in your country’s SFDC scene, to meet interesting and diverse groups and to expand your network. Anyone who’s anyone in the UK Salesforce ecosystem is likely to be there, so whether you’re looking to bump into someone in particular or just keen to see who you find, this is your annual opportunity to do so. Phil Walton, one of the UK MVPs, has produced this excellent infographic showing the 25 people he recommends connecting with at the event. Check it out here.
6) …but DON’T ignore old friends!
Most of us in the SFDC community are always super busy (that’s not a complaint!) and there are too few occasions on which we get chance to meet up. That’s especially true if you’re one of the many Salesforce professionals based outside of London. So make a plan to catch up with friends and associates you may not have seen recently. There are plenty of food and drink options at the venue, so there’s no excuse not to have a chat over a coffee or a snack – the next session of the day can wait!
7) DO catch a lift…
If you get the opportunity, try to catch a lift back to central London after the event on one of the partner-sponsored after party pleasure crafts. These set off from right outside the Excel centre just after the event and will give you the chance to take in some snacks and drinks with the old and new friends you’ve met as you sail back to the heart of London. Just make sure you pre-register.
8) …therefore DON’T get a hotel close to the venue
The Excel centre is a great venue but it’s a little bit isolated, at least in comparison to the rest of the city. So get a hotel which is more central. Then, when the after-party boat drops you off, you’ll have the choice of hitting the hay straight away or carrying on to any central London after-after parties which may be going on!
9) DO be selfish…
Use the event as any opportunity to further your own knowledge and to promote your own skills. Whether you’re there to learn more about a particular topic to add to your armoury, to network with the upper echelons of your local SFDC community, or even to put yourself in front of potential new employers, you should be sure to go into the event with your own agenda of what you want to get out of it.
10) …but DON’T leave your colleagues behind
Even if your co-workers are not SFDC specialists – or perhaps especially if they’re not SFDC specialists – there will be something at the event for them. Salesforce knows that not every single attendee will be a platform expert, and the content and sessions are planned accordingly. And being brutally honest, once you’ve been to a number of Dreamforces or World Tour events, the amount of genuinely new information you pick up at each one begins to decrease. So take the opportunity to bring someone else to the party, to get their opinions, to cover double the amount of sessions, or just to share the experience. At worst they’ll come away knowing a little more about the platform and why you love it; at best they’ll be a complete convert and can help persuade your employer to give you more Force.com toys to play with!