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openSUSE:Organize a booth HOWTO

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Note: this is an rewrite of openSUSE:Organising_a_booth and will be found later there.

You are organizing a booth at an public event? This page will help you. (If you are organizing a Lunch party the openSUSE:Launch party HOWTO could although helpful for you.)

Activities on public events are different from self organized events.

Question for yourself

 * Do you know anything about the event?
 * How big is it?
 * What type of event is it and which type of visitors will be there?
 * Was there a booth at the event the year before? Who did it? Who was there?
 * Are there other distributions?

Steps

When you answered the questions above, you should do these steps.

make your plan public

check if the event is on the list at our wiki. when not, add it. create an eventpage and link to it from the eventlist.

send mails to mailinglists of ambassadors, marketing and project. (don't crosspost). check it, if they are lost. write direct to some, who could be interested.

build your team

To manage an event alone is very hard and maybe unpossible. You need a team. If there an earlier booth at the event, ask if they organize a new booth. Ask them to work with you on a new booth.

On smaller regional events two or three people are a good number. Ask ambassdors located in the area if they can help you. There are ambassadors who like to travel and the atmosphere of social events. You should check people, who were active on other events even though they have longer way to travel.

Communicate and Delegate. Let your team know what you are doing. When there are task to delegate, delegate.

have a plan

Depending on the type of the event you should know what you want to do. Is there something what you want to show. A special tool, a cool feature?

activities, talks around your booth

talks and workshops have to be organized before the deadline is reached.

Talking Points and how to interact

  • A list of Talking Points can be found here
  • Maybe distribute Geekos after asking some openSUSE questions
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Be polite
  • Share your fun with others

related activities

You should check if there are workshops or presentations related to your booth. Is there somebody, who talks about openSUSE or technologies of it? Check the names and email-adress, some presentations don't seem to be a openSUSE but the speker is employee of Suse / openSUSE. Ask them, if they want visit your booth and answering questions of users their. Often people who give talks don't know anything of an booth or they ignoring it. Get in contact with them.

Requesting Booth Space of your booth

Every event has a deadline. They don't waiting for you. Don't wait to get support from anyone at openSUSE. When you wan't to run a booth, do it.

  • 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?

organize stuff and hardware, rooms, travel

  • you need marketing stuff (DVDs, T-Shirts, Posters, ... ) try to get some
  • you need hardware, is your private hardware (for ex. notebooks) enough or do you need some special devices?
  • do you know how everything you move to the event ? Do you need to organize a car?
  • sometimes, at important events it is possible to get hardware if there are employee from openSUSE/SUSE, ask them. Don't count on it.

Announcing your booth

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

Materials you can request

  • Promo DVDs
  • Geekos
  • T Shirts
  • Laptop Stickers
  • Stickers
  • Bookmarks
  • Project Flyers

You can get these items if they are available You can request them on this page

When coming to the meeting, giving a T-shirt to the organiser as a gift is very appreciated.

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

the countdown (three weeks before the event)

 * check if your team is ready.
 * check if your have hardware is ready
 * do you have your marketingstuff? last chance to order it and get it in time.
 * this three weeks are important, if there something goes wrong you have time to fix it

A Checklist of items that before leaving for the booth

  • Promo Materials
  • Hardware
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissor
  • Screwdriver
  • Pins
  • Knife
  • Clean up products
  • Paper towels
  • Batteries
  • Power Strip
  • Power adaptors (if travelling internationally)
  • something to drink and eat

the event

 * check who is when arriving
 * their could be an accident, try to contact others at your team when they are missed
 * there will be a time-frame, you have to set-up your booth
 
 * make your activities public (facebook, twitter, g+, blogs)
 * pictures from the event are needed

At The booth

You are at your booth that made so many efforts to get and all you see is three empty walls and a table,or even worst only a dirty table,now what?

Don't let that or anything else get you down,remember you are the Boss now.

First of all and before you put out the promo material or anything else you have with you for the decoration of the booth,make sure the the booth is clean,if its not,clean it. A clean booth is of great importance.After that, think of the decoration of the booth first and then get your things out and put them in the place you thought,if you don't have a clue of how to decorate a booth and you are a bit nervous about it then relax and do the same procedure backwards. Put out your things and the promo material and just throw your things around and make the changes you want.Always listen to others on that,but listen does not mean follow so if you don't agree with something you were told just do it your way,remember you are in control.Use your creativity and try not to be nervous,all other things will come natural.

Now it's time for the event to start,you made all of the above and now you have to decide were to put your people (or your self if you are alone) to stand.The standard place you (all) can take is in front of your stuff. although some times this is not the best,once again do how you feel more comfortable and more correctly to you for the best result. If you are in a big event and you have more than 2 people assist you,better to give to one of your team member the role of refill the promo material and help the others to whatever they want. It may sounds a bit underestimating that there will be one serving the others but in a major event this role is critical for the success of the booth,remember a team is like a machine and even the smallest screw can prevent it from working.

The event started,people are passing by and they are getting interesting and ask a lot of things,all is great but you cannot manage to talk to everyone,don't get nervous about it,anyone who really wants to take information will wait.If you get nervous you might become rude to the one you are currently talking or you might not give the right information and prevent people use openSUSE with that. Remember, try not to become nervous and that it is possible not to be able to talk to all so if you cannot avoid it,its ok.Everybody knows that you are doing the best you can.

After the event

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

External Resources