Atlassian Summit has been one of the key annual events for us Spartez folk since we first started out 10 years ago — with the first Summit which was attended by two of our founders—Wojciech Seliga and Marek Went, way back in 2010.
Time certainly does fly, as those were the days before the Atlassian Marketplace was live for vendors to distribute their apps. Back then, it was known as the plug in exchange.
Looking back at Atlassian Summit 2010, it was a comparatively humble gathering held in the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco with a short roster of sponsors and a total of 550 attendees.
You can take a trip down memory lane through the program and line-up of the 2010 Summit via this page archive here.
In the time passed since those early beginnings, Atlassian has raised the bar every year with each new Summit connecting even more sponsors, teams and industry talent together to inspire, learn and grow through each iteration.
On that, with another jam-packed Atlassian Summit US set to commence in less than a week—on September 12th in San Jose, we’ve decided to compile a last-minute list of top tips for exhibitor teams to make the most out of their time before and during the Summit.
Read on to get some tips and guidance on Summit prep and participation.
Atlassian Summit US 2017 is our 8th Summit, so you could say that we’re pretty seasoned at this affair. 😎
#1 Reiterate and confirm your objectives
If you and your team have a clear objective set for the Summit (highly recommended), then this last week is the time to ensure every team member fully understands the team goal.
For this, keep it simple and gather your team at a meeting to go over your objectives and make sure everyone is on the same page.
#2 What you say matters - make it count!
Make sure that everyone understands the consistent message your team and company wants to express during the Summit—the spoken word is sacred and holds greater influence than any other medium of communication.
We handled this by creating a basic conversation template with branches for possible expansions.
To cover our ‘elevator pitch’ for our catalogue of solutions, we set a team meeting where each member was tasked to outline the greatest value that each of our solutions provide—based on our past interactions with customers at prior Summits and also through support cases and feedback calls. Open discussion and documented notes wrapped this step up in no time.
#3 Know your customers, know their problems.
This is a bit of an obvious one, but it’s crucial to have context of how your current customers interact with you and your products—so you know how to approach and directly relate with them.
The greater the understanding in this regard, the easier it will be for you to form relationships with them through meaningful discussions—always with a side of authentic empathy, that is backed up by real context.
Assess how your team members start the conversation and present solutions.
Correct when necessary by arranging reciprocal demos and discussions with internal experts.
#4 Align and tweak your team’s Summit schedule
In the run-up to the Summit, Atlassian releases the full event schedule on their site about 1 month beforehand.
Both the Summit schedule on Atlassian’s site and the built-in agenda within the mobile app is awesome to cover individual planning.
But in our experience, it’s not so great to gain a holistic view of Summit events which all team members are attending, or have interest in attending—which is important for managers.
When you have a medium to large sized team, it can get quite arduous to track all this information without any hassle.
To tackle this in advance of the Summit mobile app release, we went ahead and created a Google Calendar of all events taking place during the Summit and shared it with all team members.
They were tasked to RSVP to those events they were set to attend with a ‘Yes’, or leave a ‘Maybe’ and a note for those which they were interested in, but weren’t completely sure if they could / would attend.
At the same time, each member was RSVP’d to those events that did not conflict with exhibiting hours.
i.e. When they will be manning the booth 1103 in the Expo Hall — such as Partner day sessions, or any direct meetings set with customers and partners.
Note: It took the most part of an afternoon to create the Google calendar of all Summit events—so if you don’t have this time to spare, it’s probably best to wait and use the Summit mobile app which is normally released about 2 weeks before the Summit starts.
#5 Booth and session rotation for team members
As much as we do love talking to our customers, it wouldn’t be fair to restrict any Spartez member to the confinement of the booth for the whole duration of the Summit—especially when there’s such a great selection of relevant sessions to attend.
Everyone is encouraged to engage in sessions and trainings that will directly benefit them and their team(s).
The trade-off? A mandatory write-up in our internal Confluence, or a brownbag session to share what they've learned. 📣
So in our case, following the Summit event alignment for the team, there are those members that want to attend break-out sessions during exhibiting hours, but are also taking care of demos, discussions and swag for customers and attendees at our booth.
Bit of an overlap, but no biggy!
With the team calendar at hand, we have visibility of how many Spartez members will be manning the booth, and those who will be attending sessions of interest.
Based on our experience from previous Summits, we know how many Spartez members are required at the booth to cover demos and discussions with Summit attendees, customers and partners.
With that, each member has the opportunity to go to sessions of interest and also interact with customers and attendees as booth and session rotation is decided beforehand and visible for the entire team—That’s a win-win!🏆
#6 Tip Combo!! Social sharing calendar
With the team events calendar alignment and scheduling of booth ↻ session rotation, you will also have a bonus outcome—a predefined plan for live social updates during your team’s time at the Summit with info on the speakers and hashtags used.
For this base, we agreed to take note of a quote that strikes a chord with us and our core audience.
To save time, we have a predefined quote template created by our graphic designer to use as live update / daily digest social posts whilst we’ll be at the Summit.
Note: Take heed of Atlassian’s brand usage guidelines before planning / posting media and/or quotes from Atlassian representatives.
#7 Sort your Inventory - Swag and the bare essentials
As with every Summit, we’ll have plenty of swag threads, print collateral and essential bits and bobs to bring with us. With a moderate hop of 5688 miles from our home here in Gdansk, Poland to San Jose, California, a small part of our Summit inventory travels with us too.
To handle the inventory check and assignment for the Summit, we simply created a dedicated page in Confluence and tallied up the total quantities before spreading it evenly by weight across the team members—a.k.a swag unicorns!🦄
Bonus! Our swag is always a hit with Summit attendees, so every Spartez member has the available space to then also take home some Atlassian and Partner swag on the return voyage.
Below are some of the bare essentials that we can’t do without for each Summit trip:
- Flight socks
If you’re taking a long-haul flight halfway around the globe, flight socks will make all the difference in your travel comfort— they also reduces the risks of DVT.
- Neck pillow, ear plugs and sleep mask
You’ll need to catch some 💤 on that long flight to land somewhat rested and ready to work/play through the Summit days and nights.
Keep in mind to try and sync your sleep cycle to that of the destination timezone when in-flight.
- Notepads, business cards, card holders and staplers
All the smaller items that are good for taking notes of connections made and jotting down relevant action points to follow-up with when you’re back in office.
Note taking also serves to enrich and expand information collected with the lead scanner provided in the dedicated Summit mobile app.
- Comfortable shoes
You’ll be on your toes for the majority of the Summit, so it’s best to keep your feet comfy.
You'll need your feet to be in good shape for dancing to a DJ Kanban set at the Summit Bash too.💃🏽🕺
- Chargers, adaptors and power banks ⚡
We always take our hardware in tow for every event, so we need to keep them juiced-up to last the course of drafting blog posts and social updates. And, to take some selfies with our partners too, ofc.👩🤳
#8 Get active on the community pages and in-app
As you would expect, anyone that is heading for Atlassian Summit gets extra pumped-up in the preceding week before it starts. With all other arrangements closed—well, at least they should be 😉, there’s no better time to get involved with the community rush that is evident both on Atlassian’s community portal and in the dedicated event app feed.
It’s really a great means to connect with your customers, partners, user groups and peer interest groups in the run-up to the Summit itself.
If you haven’t downloaded the mobile app for iOS or Android, you can do so here.
After all pre-summit bases are covered , it’s then a matter of containing your team’s excitement until the Summit begins.
We'll see you in San Jose!
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