When the agenda is finalized online for the conference, you can start figuring out your schedule, so you know when you’ll be occupied and which times are available for meetings.
Read through all of the session titles and descriptions, as well as the speakers for each, and pick your favorites. When I do this, it’s a mix of the topics and people I want to see.
Start setting up meetings in advance in 15-30 minute slots as soon as you can, because the schedules of your fellow organized people tend to fill up fast.
Reach out to your contacts to let them know you will be at the conference, and that you are available to meet.
Mention that you’ll be there on your Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts, so people know you’re there, and you might be able to set up times with folks you’ve wanted to meet and didn’t realize they’d be attending, too.
Also, you can certainly drop in randomly at the exhibit hall booths of companies you want to meet, but you’re more likely to get time with the right person if you book a specific time before the conference.