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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Table in pairs if you can. 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.
  • Organize the table neatly. It should include general literature on factory farming and vegetarianism, info on CAA, 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 “Compassionate Choices“, “Your Choice” pamphlets. If someone is interested in recipes or info on nutrition, give 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.
  • You may get asked questions regarding plant-based diets and animal issues. Refer to and familiarize yourself with the Advocacy Etiquette and Frequently Asked Questions 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.
  • Ask questions. Show your interest in them, their views, and their experiences. Ask them about their experiences with animals including the names and the personalities of their companion animals. You’ll often hear stories that demonstrate your common ground with them. Don’t ask about their dietary practices. If they are eating less meat, vegetarian, or vegan, they will usually tell you. Be sure to thank them for whatever positive choices they make! If you ask, they will often assume that you judge them for their decisions if they are not vegan.
  • 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.

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