Preparing for Community Events

I am a big fan of a Salesforce Community Conference, I have so far managed to make it to French Touch Dreamin' (twice), WiTness Success, InspireEast, Surf Force, and each and every London's Calling. I already have my ticket for Southeast Dreamin' later this month, and both Yeur Dreamin' and Yeur Leadin' in June.
Unlike Dreamforce community conferences are short, normally one or one and a half days. This means that time is precious and so a bit of planning is required.
Here are my recommendations for your pre-event preparation:

Do Your Homework
Take the time to review the schedule before the day. Both London's Calling (here) and Southeast Dreamin' (here) publish their sessions and schedule a month or two out. There are often 5 or 6 sessions per time slot. The organisers will have tried their best to offer something for everyone in each slot but that doesn't mean that your choices are already made. Take the time to pick out the sessions you want to attend and make a note of them. Don't lose precious time deciding on the day, you may end up missing out. One attendee has produced a Google Sheet of all the LC19 sessions to help his planning. I salute this forethought.



Grasp All Opportunities
The sessions at community conferences are great for learning but the DemoJam and expo are also ideal places to learn about the tools available to us on the AppExchange. Be sure to attend the DemoJam (12-1pm at London's Calling and 11.20-12.15 at Southeast Dreamin') to get a 3 minute pitch from several different partners.

Community Conferences wouldn't exist without sponsorship from these companies. Take a moment during one of the breaks to speak to the teams at the stands in the expo area, it will be a lot quieter than the expo hall at Dreamforce or World Tours, and so you are likely to receive a personalised demo of their offering.



Remember To Turn On Your OOO
We are all busy and a deadline is undoubtedly looming, but don't spend half your day working and answering emails. That can wait until Monday. Whether you have booked PTO to attend, or are supported by work, don't feel like you need to be on call. It is just one day (and a Friday at that).

Did Someone Say SWAG?
No Salesforce event would be complete without a selection of freebies on offer. London's Calling t-shirts are normally the talk of the town with their bold colours and edgy design, but they aren't all we come away with. There may be a raffle or giveaway, and going to speak to the partners in the expo hall is a sure way of picking up some cool gadgets and gizmos. Chances are you will be supplied with a bag to hold all these items so don't worry about bringing an extra one.

Pack Lightly
As above you are likely to pick up some extra items over the course of the day so I advise you to pack lightly. Unless you are presenting, leave your laptop behind, a tablet or your phone, is enough to take notes with, and tweet about all the fun you are having. Remember to bring a reusable water bottle so that you can refill it and stay hydrated throughout the day, otherwise mints, tissues, lip balm, and a battery pack should suffice.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Community Conferences are great places to network with your peers and make some new connections. Business cards are fairly rare these days so take photos of each others' badges and seek them out online. Twitter and LinkedIn are the go to places to connect professionally so take a moment to check that your profiles on both are up to date ahead of the conference.

Dress Comfortably
No, this isn't San Francisco with its hills, people, and scale, but you will be on your feet for much of the day, and it is likely to be a long one. Wear shoes that won't pinch or hurt. The dress code for community conferences is usually business casual, which is a pretty broad terms. Wear what makes you comfortable, both physically and in a professional capacity.

All Work and No Play...
Bear in mind that the event won't finish with the closing keynote, there will be post-event drinks or even dinner, and these parts of the day provide a great opportunity to network in an informal environment. Don't book an early train or make plans elsewhere.


If you are going to be at London's Calling, Southeast Dreamin', or YeurDreamin', come and say hello and share your own tips. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tips to Tackling Salesforce Certifications

How to Have an Awesome Dreamforce

Best Practices and Recommendations for New Salesforce Admins (Part One - Setup Best Practices)