John Bristowe has posted a nice list of tips to get ready for any big conference. I'll let you read the details there, but here's a summary.
- Have a plan
- Bring a good backpack (I'll just add, don't use the conference bag during the conference - thousands of people have the identical bag and it's confusing)
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Bring lots of business cards (yes! You are here to meet people and people are here to meet you! Make it stick)
- be able to get by on crummy or no wireless
Give yourself time before, during, and after the event. You need to plan and make goals in advance. While you're there, go to talks, be open to serendipity (conversations, extra talks, booth visits) and don't forget to go to dinners and parties for vital face time and relationship building. Then you need to have time to follow up when it's over. This happens once or twice a year for most people. Putting an extra ten or twenty hours into it will make a HUGE difference.