openSUSE:Organising a booth

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The perfect booth

In this page we'll try to share with you how to set up the perfect booth! Much of the contents of this page come from this talk from the openSUSE Conference 2013.

why a booth

A booth at events is there for three kinds of people:

  • newbies
    • We want to show them what open source and openSUSE are about. We demonstrate openSUSE and let them play with it.
  • advanced users
    • We answer questions, give them tips and hopefully convince them openSUSE is awesome!
  • experienced FOSS people
    • They propbably have settled on a distribution and that is fine. Just be there for them, show openSUSE is relevant, active, fun. Even if they want to use Ubuntu, Fedora or another distribution, we do matter: we have OBS, openQA and other tools that are relevant for everybody; and even if THEY won't use openSUSE, friends of them might want something more stable and easy...

Basics of a booth

As we want to talk to people, we have to make sure that our booth is open and inviting; and it has to represent openSUSE properly!

Be Open - Be Friendly - Be Fun

Being open means being friendly, inviting. Don't sit behind a wall of tables hacking on your laptop! Instead, put the table(s) to the side or back and stand in front. Talk to people who might be interested, give them a flyer.

Engage people: 1. Ask questions to draw people in: "are you a Linux user?" "ever used openSUSE?" "Tried it recently?" 2. Try to find out what they need/want and how technical they are. "how long are you using Linux?", "have you tried other distributions?" 3. Don't waste time on negativity. Ask them to email the lists or use the forums with their issues and complaints if you can't help them quickly.

Representing openSUSE

We Believe poster

We're openSUSE and we're not just another geeko. Make sure you understand the text on the poster about 'we believe'! It represents our philosophy and it matters to us.

This includes being friends with other projects. If KDE or GNOME or LibreOffice can't have their own booth, invite them to join ours! Get some fliers for them on our table, share, and be open!

Know our project

  • Leap is a hybrid distribution combining community and enterprise Linux in one stable release. The best of both worlds.
  • Tumbleweed is a reliable distribution based on the latest package updates. Get snapshots and upgrade the packages you want. You decide.

Promote openSUSE not-just-as-a-distribution

openSUSE is a project and the project has two distributions and several tools.

  • Think of building for other Linux with OBS
  • Want the best automated testing for operating systems and stacks. Think openQA!
  • Sysadmins will love the Machinery Project. Gain insight into existing systems and track their state. Or create new systems based on existing ones. Machinery is the all-in-one command line application for sysadmins.
  • Get live cds for openSUSE using SUSE Studio
  • Add feedback to the project by requesting new features using openfate
  • YaST - The installation and configuration tool that needs very little introduction. YaST allows you to do almost anything you such as setup hardware, configure the network, system services and tune your security settings.

A list of Talking Points can be found here to help you with that. Share the fun!

Practical tips

Materials you can request from SUSE

SUSE is working with the openSUSE booth to set up a new merchandising program. Check here for the state up to Oct 2013.

Materials you can download, make and distribute

Some Ideas which you may like to toy with

  • Create some cool openSUSE Crossword puzzles and share it with kids
  • there are foldable tuxes in our artwork repo, real cool to print and let kids build them.

Requesting Booth Space

  • Contact the event coordinator to request a booth:
    • Email
    • Website
    • Telephone
  • Ask detailed questions about the booth
    • What size booth space? What size table? What shape table?
    • is electrical power provided?
    • Are there registration fees for the booth?
    • What days and hours will the exhibit area be open to the public?
    • What days and hours can you go in to set up the booth before open to the public? When is booth tear-down?
    • If left overnight, is security provided in the exhibit hall?
    • If shipping supplies is necessary, does the facility accept shipments?

Announcing your booth

  • Distribute Flyers
  • Tell your friends and kin to visit your booth
  • Announce on openSUSE Mailing Lists and social media channels
  • If you are a part of your LUG tell them too
  • Add the booth to the Events List

A Checklist of items that before leaving for the booth

  • Promo Materials
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissor
  • Screwdriver
  • Pins
  • Knife
  • Clean up products
  • Paper towels
  • Batteries
  • Power Strip
  • Power adapters (if travelling internationally)

Booth day

  • Be in time to set up your booth
    • Ask and learn from the organizers how long before the beginning the event you can be there and be there at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the event.
  • Create an open booth area (tables to side/back)
  • Make it all pretty!
  • Ask the organization of the event if you can hang up a few posters around the place to get people to the booth talks (if you do them) or the raffle (if you do one) or just so they know what's where. Make the conference place Geeko Green!
  • If you're with a team, divide some tasks:
    • Somebody is in charge of refilling the materials
    • Somebody has to welcome people who are just wandering by
    • and so on
  • See the other tips above!

After the event

  • Blog about it
  • Share photos with us
  • Let us know and we will try to put your event in our weekly news

PRO tips

These things you can do bringing extra life to the booth. It does take some work, though!

Tip 1: if you have give-aways, consider selling (lottery/drawing, sale-to-highest-bidder or just sales) & donating proceedings to event organization. They will love you (and believe me, that matters more than you think) and you get credit from the visitors, too: they like this! Plus, it's simply a good feeling to do something good :D

Tip 2: Organize little talks or demos at the booth. They won't attract huge numbers but they do give you a chance to interact real close with a few people and that's a big bonus! Subjects don't have to be about openSUSE - talk about what YOU know about, let the others on the booth do the same, and it's all good.

Tip 3: Promote your booth, what you do and the talks around the place! Go to the organization, tell them about what you plan (1 and 2?) and ask them if it is OK if you hang up a few posters. Then BRAND the frackin' place and make it look as openSUSE as you can! Include a poster with the talks your team gives, and include the location of the booth.

Tip 4: Connect with other projects. Like with the talks - it brings non-openSUSE people to our booth. Have some materials from other projects at your booth, that's perfectly cool. Be open and with others!

External Resources