Tips for Tabling

Grab their attention & keep it!

Accomplish your goals

with proactive tabling techniques! Whether you're recruiting new members, promoting an event, or raising funds, tabling is all about grabbing people's interest and keeping them there long enough to listen to you- and, if you're lucky, getting people to do what you want.

However, it definitely involves some planning ahead of time and follow-up afterwards. Check out the tips below!

Practice your elevator speech

Prepare a 60-second explanation

about your organization that describes its purpose and accomplishments. How will a member benefit by joining? What types of events or programs do you plan annually? What specifically are you raising money to achieve? What can someone expect to see or do at your upcoming event?

Have each person tabling rehearse this "elevator speech" in order to provide interested passers-by with a consistent message.

Remember! People join people. If you craft your elevator speech so it sounds like your personal story, interested students are more likely to feel a connection, to imagine themselves having a similar experience, and to join your group!

Make an enormous poster

That succinctly explains

the name of your organization and its purpose. Put it above or next to your table. Don't forget supplies like tape or string to attach your poster. Draw people over to come to you!

Make a professional, visually interesting display at your table

You want your table to call out

to the random person and say, "Come here!" not, "We just pulled this together five minutes ago." Things to consider for your table's display:

  • Information about your organization. What are you about?
  • Information on your meetings and events.
  • Sign-up sheets
  • Brochures or business cards with your organization's contact and meeting information.
  • Flyers promoting your first meeting or event or maybe an events calendar
  • Scrapbook or small table display with (appropriate) photos
  • Trophies, awards, or other relevant props/visuals

Try something new for the Spring Student Organization Fair: Thinking along the lines of tabling at Spring Fling, bring a giveaway, create a game or something interactive for interested students to play!

Power in numbers

Have at least two people

staffing the table at a time. This way, if one person is involved with a passerby, the other can continue trying to grab people's attention. The people at the table should be willing to talk to complete strangers and be assertive to the uninterested pedestrian. In addition, all tablers should be knowledgeable about the organization.

Consider how your table appears to others. Are your members crowding around and talking only to one another or does your body language welcome someone to stop by and ask questions?

Be proactive!

Don't be afraid

to be aggressive when you're trying to grab the attention of passers-by! The key here is to be polite, yet forceful with your message. The people at the table must be audible to anyone in the area. Tabling is a great opportunity to stand up and mingle with potential new members. It's far more effective than sitting behind your table passively.

Wrap Things Up

If you utilized a sign-up sheet to collect e-mails,

timely follow up is essential to capitalizing on the interest you gained from tabling. Within 48 hours, contact potential new members to do the following:

  • Thank them for stopping by the table
  • Ask if they have any questions
  • Personally invite them to your next meeting
  • Invite them to become a member of your organization on Owl Connect. Instructions on adding new members are outlined in the Student Leader User Guide.

Most importantly, Have fun!

Student Org Week is an awesome way to jump-start the year by introducing the campus community to the value of involvement in student orgs. I'm excited to see you at the events throughout the week!

Adapted from Effective Recruitment Through Tabling, The Center for Leadership and Service, Cleveland State University