How to make your event manager love you


Beatta Lovrecic

Job title

Developer Events Specialist




DevRelCon London 2023

Events can be a big part of your DevRel program. In larger teams, it’s likely you have a dedicated events manager and there are certain things you can do ensure you’re both able to do your jobs well.

In this talk from DevRelCon London 2023, Infobip’s Beatta Lovrecic shares her advice on how to work effectively with your event manager.

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Key takeaways

  • Prepare in advance: Avoid last-minute preparations and strive to be organized. Learn how your team operates and communicate effectively to ensure everyone is prepared and informed.
  • Engage colleagues: Consider involving volunteers from outside your engineering team, such as sales engineers or customer support personnel. They can provide valuable assistance and knowledge about your product or company.
  • Create a thorough brief: Develop a comprehensive brief for everyone attending the conference. Include important details like schedules, logistics, booth activations, dress code, and FAQs. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and well-prepared.
  • Have a backup plan: Always be prepared for technical failures during demos or presentations. Have a backup option in case something goes wrong.
  • Wear and distribute appealing merch: Design merchandise that you personally like and find practical. When you wear it and show enthusiasm, others are more likely to be interested in it as well.
  • Engage with booth visitors: Instead of simply pitching your company, have meaningful conversations with booth visitors. Listen to their problems and pain points, and try to provide valuable insights and solutions.
  • Stay in touch after the event: Find ways to stay connected with the people you meet at the event. This can be through newsletters, social media, or community platforms like Discord. Building and maintaining relationships with potential users and champions is important.
  • Reflect on the event: After the event, evaluate what worked well and what could be improved. Share your experiences through blog posts or interviews, and collaborate with your internal PR and marketing teams to maximize the impact of your participation.
  • Be adaptable and creative: Embrace flexibility and be willing to improvise when unexpected challenges arise. Creative booth setups and problem-solving can make a lasting impression on attendees.


Jon Gottfried:

I am really excited for our next speaker. So as someone who does a lot of events, I have enormous respect for events planners and events managers. And our next speaker is I believe, developer events specialist Infobip, and she’s going to be telling you how to make your event manager love you, which is really important because it’s a symbiotic relationship. So without further ado, I would love to introduce you to our next speaker, Beatta Lovrecic. Yeah, give her a huge round of applause standing ovation.

Beatta Lovrecic:

Thank you everyone for coming to my talk today. As John said, I’m Beam and I work for Infobip in their DevRel team. If you wonder what Infobip is, we’re a cloud communications platform and I work within the DevRel team there. You can usually find me on my socials by my name or by my handle. That’s usually it. So why am I here today talking to you? I’ve been in event planning managing since I was at uni for six plus years now. I’ve been doing this job and I’ve always kind of stuck to IT events. I’ve been organizing events both big and small and in the last year I’ve joined Infobip’s DevRel team and am helping them to actually attend events in a more peaceful manner and more effective manner. So let’s get going. You’re all probably familiar with this situation. It’s the evening before the conference.

Your booth is not nearly as done. Your coffee cups haven’t been delivered yet. Your Amazon orders are just dispatched. You don’t have power outlets for activities, you’re not even sure you’re going to do yet. People are pinging you for the booth schedule, which you haven’t even started. It’s all very chaotic and that’s why event management has been in the top three most stressful jobs for 2023. And that’s a valid reason behind it because we mostly depend on other people and out of our hand circumstances, which can make this very, very tricky to do. So I’m going to share with you today some tips and tricks which you can do before, during, and after the event to make your event manager love you. So before the event, how to start? Well, you start by making a list of events you want to do. Of course I can make a list of events, but you are the one that’s been in DevRel for a longer time.

You’re the one that is attending events, so you can always add your own events to the list to complete it and you can help us actually discover niche community events before we even start the sponsorship process. So it makes my job easier, makes budget allocations simpler because you know beforehand what you want to do. It makes for more practical travel arrangements, especially if you have a smaller DevRel team, which we do as well. You can actually research and prepare for CFPs as well and that’s a more organic approach to events, to awareness and it makes everyone’s work enjoyable, more enjoyable. In the end, we do it actually we have a spreadsheet, a simple spreadsheet, and we just put in categories that we need personally. So events, scope start and end date location, country tagging teammates who would be eligible to do it, but because yet again, small events team, we need to know where everyone is at some point and which countries and cities can they combine within certain dates. And so another big deal before the event is to actually participate in the creative process of you preparing for the event. We like to do a brainstorming on goodies that we want to share with people and this is just some pictures of my favorite goodies. This was last year’s DevRel Khan in Prague and all of the speakers got a goodie bag with some really Prague esque stuff. And this is our usual booth layout depending on the size with our goodies there.

One of the best takes I’ve read in last year about event goodies came from Laura Czajkowski. She posted it on LinkedIn a few weeks ago and she’s basically saying if you’re ordering items to give away and not engaged and you’re missing an opportunity for someone to look at your item post event and think about that interaction they had with you or with your product, it’s looking at the long tail and not the instant ROI from the lead scan you get from the lead scan. So basically make memorable merge, make cool merge that you want to give out to people that you’ll be happy to give out to people.

Also, part of the creative process is preparing the booth also. You’re the first line to developers. You are the one talking to them so you know what’s going to engage them. You can make creative booths no matter the booth size. So this is a really small booth. We had a conference, this is our own Infobip shift booth, which is like 8.4 meters and people pass through it the whole day long. So you can make it creative in any way and your team knows how to do it. You just need to brainstorm it together and do a little research. This is one of my favorite pastimes and as an event manager is actually pinging people. We are here to make sure that you are on time. So anything from your CFPs, your travel arrangements, your accommodations. We are here to let you know that when your deadline is due and there is no way that I can tell you how to do it, it’s basically experimenting on how to organize yourself and then it’s easier to organize other people.

For me, the stuff that works is actually taking analog notes in my notebook or actually when it’s the high of event season, my work desk is full of post-Its and reminders on what I’m going to do. Other thing is that I send calendar invites or reminders. So I either set it up for myself or I invite Mike to one event and tell him that he needs to submit his sessionize talk and then I double down on Slack like you said before. Another thing you need to try to do before the event is get people to volunteer. So especially if you’re dealing with a small DevRel team, you need outside help.

Most of our engineers, they’re not so prone to traveling or to even engaging with people. So we needed to find another pool of people that’s going to be available more readily. And the ones actually that we found were sales engineers and customer support people. We were very surprised of how efficiently they are for our needs because both of them know about the product stack, know about everything regarding our company, and they’re talking to people day by day. They know how to handle people. So the main thing is to educate them on booth etiquette and then you’re good to go back. Basically talking about education. One of the most effective things for us was just having a nice thorough brief for everyone who’s coming to the conference. So nice to have things are like timing and stuff, schedules. So who is due when on the booth, who is flying in and out, the conference schedules when our lunch breaks, coffee breaks when you expect most people on the booth.

Logistics like packages coming in. Booth activations purpose for the event and for the booth. That’s especially important if you have outside people as well as dress code because most people who are not in DevRel tend to overdress when coming to the booth and do not look very approachable. So how can you help? As a DevRel professional, you can always add event insights, especially if you’ve been before to the same event or if you been to a similar event. And of course add FAQs and their answers. So anything that’s not within the regular knowledge that you need to present and you find it interesting to talk about, edit to the document and add the answer that you want to be answered.

And then when you’re done your due diligence for the event, let’s see how you can help during the actual event. So please if you can help it join us when setting up and dismantling the booth. It’s not about muscle power, it’s just basically two or more heads. I’ll always better than one. There’s been more than a few occasions where my colleagues helped me solve a problem, pitched something better for the booth setup or just gave me the space that I needed to actually go and solve the problem myself. This is also very on the nose, but be punctual and on call. Of course you need to follow the schedule, but also the stuff that’s very important is that you stay within conference grounds. So things could get heated at any moment at the booth without any explainable cause people can pour in and it’s good to have you on a five minute reach if I text you. Okay, come back to the booth. We need more people here. Also have a tech demo. It’s always nice to have an appropriate demo. Not everyone will want to see it, but some people will ask for it. Practice the way you want to present that demo and of course always prepare for that tech to fail and have a backup option if it does.

Also something on the nose, but where your merch, this is one more reason to make it as creative, as cool as possible. So when you’re on your booth, wear the merch you designed and if you like your merch, other people will too. So we often catch people like the next day of the conference basically wearing our T-shirts and socks and we’ll always take photos of them because it’s really nice. It’s like appreciation of your work when you talk to people at the booth, Don pitch your company, actually talk to them, listen to their problems, listen to their pain points, get to know them. And that’s how you create the best possible developer experience on actual practical knowledge and not guesswork and Googling. And when the event is over, don’t forget to mingle. I know we are all tired after pulling 12 hour shifts at the booth, but to show up, you don’t have to close the place down. Just make an appearance. This was one of my favorite events where it was just us playing cards with some people that we met at the event eating pizza and it was all very low key and it was very appropriate after the event itself.

And then when you’re done with all your event work, you need to show some results or what you’ve done. So make collaterals or shareables. So anything you can share on blogs, social media. If the conference offers you a an interview, do it. Cooperate with your internal PR and marketing team. See if they have any suggestions on how you can make the most out of it. For example, on social media, you can post about your bulls, games, engagements, giveaways, for example. Another nice picture of Mike or you can write about your experience if you have a company blog or a blog about your DevRel team. This was our blog post from last year’s DevRelCon and basically each colleague wrote one paragraph about what they found interesting and after you talked to everybody, make it if you can, possible to stay in contact with your audience.

So find a way to stay in contact with them. We try to transfer people to our monthly newsletter where we write about tech news that’s important for basically Infobip users. And we write about where the DevRel team is going to be in the following month and where people can catch us or if we are having any CFPs upcoming. Another way is that we’re gathering a community, for example, on Discord because all of those people that you can be your future audience, your future users, and even champions, you can even join our discord as well if you want and see what we’re up to. And let’s see what I’ve been talking about for the last 15 ish, 20 ish minutes. So it’s important that you choose your events. Of course there are some events where you need to be because it’s in the company culture or anything else.

But make it a point to choose the niche events, the smaller events where you can actually talk and interact with people that you want to be to. And it’s important to make merch that you like as well because you’re going to like it, you’re going to wear it as well. And people are going to pick up on the energy and they will going to like the merch as well. Allow us as an event manager to bore you. We know we are boring, but it’s part of our job. It’s in your best interest. Also consider both volunteers outside engineering teams. That’s been one of our biggest helps this following year because we’ve done I think more than 20 events throughout the year and it would’ve been hard if we didn’t have some outside of our team help. A great brief also saves you time because it can educate people and people can also later on ask questions based on the brief. Or you can even organize a call where you run through the brief with the team that is going to be at the conference. Always have a demo of your tech and prepare and prepare if it fails. So always have a backup option, talk to your booth guests to deliver the best possible developer experience and stay in touch with people you meet at the booth. And that was it for me. Thank you.

Jon Gottfried:

Fantastic, thank you. Do we have any questions in the audience here? Raise a hand and I will run over it. Yes, right here in front.

Audience member 1:

Sorry. What are some of the common mistakes you see people make with events and boots especially that make, what are the not to dos? You said good things to do. What are the worst things?

Beatta Lovrecic:

Prepare less.

Audience member 1:

What’s the worst thing Mike does?

Beatta Lovrecic:

Oh, I don’t have enough time for that, but actually preparing everything last minute. So I am not a perfectionist far from it, but preparing in advance, learning how team breeds and learning who you need to ping and how you actually need to get to know your teammates to see who to pinging when and how to prepare them personally. That’s basically like the personal contact you have with them to be able to prepare everything. So how you feed information to your boss or to your teammate and how you pinging them and not to raise those stress levels for them if you can help it.

Audience member 2:

What’s some of the best swag you’ve ever seen?

Beatta Lovrecic:

Oh, I actually liked MLH duffel bags as well today. It’s amazing also the adapter thing, because I think half of my team showed up to London without an adapter UK adapter, so that was a fun run at Boots yesterday, just me piling on five adapters to them and the woman was looking at me what? So yeah, always something that it’s very practical and it’s easy to use for people, especially people traveling. That’s I think always a very good swag to have. I would personally use it.

Audience member 2:

What’s the worst thing that has ever happened on a conference?

Beatta Lovrecic:

The question please. She said, what’s the worst thing that has ever happened at the conference

Personally? Well now you gave me two ideas. One idea was when I was working back with my colleague there and all of the texts stopped working. So fortunately we knew the speaker. It was like a personal friend of ours and he didn’t have any problem running down, getting his laptop and starting everything over. But it was like a 10, 15 minute ordeal of what are we going to do? Because literally everything stopped and we cannot even figure out what happened today. Another thing what happened to me and my colleague, we were in the middle of Salt Lake City trying to drop off boxes to the post office. I quickly googled on Uber, like post office clicked the first one and it dropped us off at a cocktail bar that’s called the post office. And the guy at the front was like, oh, you cannot imagine how often that happens. It was like, really? Then we didn’t have any more budget for Ubering then what should we do? We cannot carry the boxes. They’re so heavy. We rented scooters, planted the boxes on the scooters and actually pull the scooters uphill beside us. So yeah, a lot of improvisation.

Audience member 2:

it was a huge conference, very important for us and one of developer, very good developer, he came completely drunk and we organized some kind of bed. It’s that tight and he slept there. So it was God so funny.

Beatta Lovrecic:

Okay. Nothing near it. No, no. I would’ve died from stress probably at that point.

Jon Gottfried:

Murphy’s Law of Conferences, whatever can go wrong, will.

Beatta Lovrecic:

Right? Yeah.

Jon Gottfried:

Awesome. Well thank you so much. Another incredible talk for a huge round of applause, please.


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