Guide to Effective Tabling
Tabling can be fun and it's a great way of reaching out to the public on animal issues and vegetarianism. It's also one of the best ways to attract new volunteers and supporters. The impact tabling can have is powerful, and has been enough to convince many people to go vegetarian or vegan. The following are things we have found to be helpful when tabling.
- Dress appropriately. It's most effective to identify with the average person, and our appearance is an important first impression. This is especially true for us because we're talking to people about ideas that are kind of "out there" for the majority of people. We want people to focus on the animal's suffering, and not be distracted or turned off by how we look.
- Smile and be friendly to the people you interact with. If you look friendly, people are more likely to approach and talk to you, ask questions, or take a leaflet
- It is always best to table in pairs. This will give you someone to talk to and make it less intimidating for people to visit the table. It also provides the opportunity to answer more people's questions individually.
- The table should not be cluttered. It should include general literature on factory farming and vegetarianism, info on CAA, stickers, VegGuide.org cards, and vegan recipes.
- Laying out stickers and treats is a good way to attract people and show how tasty vegan food can be. If you're making food available, feel free to try a little, but limit yourself as it is important to save this food for those considering switching to a plant-based diet.
- When people approach the table, be friendly, let them know that everything on the table is free and that they can help themselves to any of the literature and resources. If someone wants more information, you can tell them direct them to our website and let them know about our offices.
- Encourage interested people to sign up for our mailing list to receive weekly e-newsletters on upcoming events, articles, recipes, and much more. In addition, make sure they receive a brochure about CAA if they seem interested in CAA. If appropriate, mention any upcoming events or ways to get involved immediately.
- Whenever someone approaches the table, make sure they leave with either a "Why Vegan?", "Even If You Like Meat..." pamphlets. If someone is interested in recipes or info on nutrition, give her or him a "Guide to Cruelty Free Eating" pamphlet.
- Become familiar with the literature that we distribute. It is important to know which pamphlets have recipes, nutritional information, or other resources when people stop by the table. Being familiar with the literature also makes us look more credible.
- Be as outgoing as possible and offer a leaflet on factory farming
(e.g., the "Why Vegan" pamphlet).
- You may get asked questions regarding plant-based diets and animal issues. Refer to and familiarize yourself with the CAA animal advocacy FAQ to competently address any questions that may arise. If tabling with another person, you may want to see if they can help answer a given question. If neither of you know how to respond to something, you can refer him or her to the appropriate pamphlet or to other sources, such as a website or a book in our office library.
- Ask people if they know about the group CAA specifically. It's good to let them know that we're an independent, local, organization and they can get involved.
- Always be polite and outgoing, even if you are treated rudely. If we respond in a hostile manner, we are lowering ourselves to their level, and not doing the animals any good. It is important to set a good example and always be friendly and respectful when handing out literature. If someone isn't interested, you can say "Enjoy your day", or something to that effect and let them go.
- Do not talk at length with people who are rude or uninterested in listening to what you have to say. It is better to simply ignore those that want nothing more than to pick a fight and rile you up. Don't get discouraged and waste your time; just move on to other people that are more receptive.
- While wrapping up at the end of the day, please put everything back
into the tabling box in an orderly fashion. Stickers should be placed
in a bag together and pamphlets in stacks based on what they are.
- Be sure to have a sign that reads something like this: "We'll pay you $1.00 to watch this 4-minute video".
- Don't wait for people to take you up on the offer — recruit them! Get out from behind the table, smile, and ask people passing by in a friendly way whether they'd like to make a dollar by watching a four minute video. If they say "no", consider offering them a "Compassionate Choices" leaflet.
- As soon as people are finished watching the video, give them their dollar.
- Once you've given them their dollar, be sure ask them what they thought of the video. Try to answer any questions they have, but if you don't know the answer don't be afraid to say so!
- Offer those who've watched the video a "Guide to Cruelty Free Eating" leaflet and invite them to sign up for the CAA mailing list.
- Be sure to track the number of people who watch videos and the number of people who take their dollar (some people will refuse the dollar after watching and others will opt to donate it).
- Be sure to note any memorable conversations you have!
Tabling at Concerts
When tabling at concerts, it pays to do things slightly differently. Often times, it is very loud, and dark, and there is a stage people are focused on. Rather than letting these things reduce our effectiveness, here are some ways to use them to your advantage.
- Don't try to talk to people right away. Use body language instead. Smile, hand them a Why Vegan, and gesture to the table indicating that the stuff is for them to look at and take.
- The TV is important at shows, but because they can't hear the narration, it is even more important that they get a copy of Why Vegan to take with them to explain what they were seeing. If someone wants stickers or food, make it part of the deal that they take info, too.
- If someone is watching the TV but hasn't stopped by the table, walk over to them and give them a Why Vegan.
- For people who are just walking past the table, hand them a Why Vegan and gesture towards the table, pointing out the stickers and other literature.
- Put a sign near the TV, or on top of it, Standard Industry Practice or something to that effect. Then you don't have to try and shout that important bit of info over the music.
- Point the TV away from the stage, and out into the crowd. That way the people who are looking toward the stage have a better chance of seeing the footage.
- Don't stand in front of the TV or the literature. Stand off to the side so people have more opportunity to see what we have on the table.
- If someone is interested, or has questions, do your best to communicate over the noise. Don't hesitate to write down websites on their literature, or grab more info for them and say that reading it will explain things better than you can during the show. Encourage them to e mail us if they have questions.
- If someone is already vegan and is happy to see you there, encourage them to take some Why Vegans to give to friends, co-workers, or family members.
- Thank people for stopping and tell them to enjoy the show!
- A few minutes before the show ends, try standing at the door and leaflet as people leave.