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Effective Tabling Tips

Personally, I have had tremendous success tabling events and assisting others to make sure their tabling efforts were best utilized. I covered the topic on my consulting blog under an article entitled “Effective Tabling Tips“. I hope you find this information useful and look forward to your help at our next event. To become more active with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or table an event for us, please do not hesitate to contact me at Jay@NorthernWINORML.org, thank you.


Location, Location, Location!  You may have the all the information and a quality presentation, but if you do not have traffic you will not have numbers.  To be successful you will need to capture and harvest leads in high and low traffic situations.  Become a master of both traffic control and tabling situations.

Tabling at an existing event or venue that has a high amount of foot traffic is ideal.  Trade Shows, Fairs and Expo Style events that draw large crowds or participants specifically related to your goal should be sought out whenever possible.  Tabling at your local college campus is a great way to get gain supporters and to find help with additional campaigns. If you are not on a college campus nor have access to these other types of venues, you can collect names, e-mail, addresses and signatures of supporters in high-traffic areas.

Explain to people what they will be signing as thoroughly and efficiently as possible, develop written language or talking points to use.

If you have volunteers staffing and tabling: 1) Role play with them. 2) Make them submit your sign-up sheets back to a coordinator in a timely fashion so others may perform the desired tasks to achieve the goal while the lead is still warm. 3) Show up to double check and help if needed 4) Reward your volunteers well.

Here are a few more tips for effective recruitment, fundraising, signature initiatives or other awareness, outreach and advertising activities.

Effective Tabling Tips


  1. Smile, make eye contact, and say a friendly “hello” to everyone that walks up. Give your pitch to anyone who approaches the table.
  2. Ask each person who comes by the table to sign up for your campaign.
  3. Position yourself in high-traffic areas.
  4. Tidy up the table as you work and replenish materials as they run low. The table should be aesthetically pleasing and interesting.
  5. If you represent a group, hang your group’s sign or banner to let people know what group you represent. This way, a passerby will see there is widespread support for your issue or business.
  6. Make sure that any volunteers who are staffing the table or carrying a clipboard have a copy of the talking points and can easily explain what the attendees will be signing. (Know Your Stuff, but Keep It Simple)
  7. Expect objections.  Learn language to overcome the most common objections.
  8. Make sure people understand what they are signing up for. If you’re signing people up for e-mail list, make sure people understand they will receive the e-mails your organization will send.


  1. Don’t leave the table unattended.
  2. Don’t just sit behind the table. If possible, stand in front of the table and engage people as they walk by.
  3. Don’t have materials in unorganized piles. Place fliers in a visible location.
  4. Don’t let people come to the table or approach you without acknowledging them. Greet everyone who approaches. Wear a name tag/badge.
  5. Don’t engage a clearly hostile person. Every minute you spend talking with an opponent who can’t be convinced is time lost with an ally. Be polite, but firm.
  6. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”  If someone asks you a question you cannot answer, simply write it down with a name, number, and e-mail address and say that someone will get back to him/her. You can also direct the person to your organizations Web site.
  7. Don’t put a blank sign-up sheet on your clipboard. People hate to be the first ones to sign up, especially for political, non profit or charity campaigns. If you only have blank sheets (in other words, if you are starting a new sheet), fill out the first line yourself.
  8. Don’t fill out the sign-up form for people — you want to make sure that people signing know what they are signing.  It’s important that they fill out the sheet in their own handwriting. (Most initiatives will not be able to accept sign-up sheets that have not been filled out personally by the people signing up.)

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