Tabling can be an effective way for you to get the word out about your organization or cause, add to your email list and become better known in your community. Organizations regularly table on college campuses, at conferences and at community fairs and events.

But plenty of organizations regularly waste resources by practicing bad tabling techniques. Renting space at conferences can be expensive, but even if it’s free it’s still costing hours of your employees’ and volunteers’ time. It’s essential you’re making every second of your tabling time count.

Here’s some ways you may be wasting your tabling opportunities.


You’re Not Standing

If you’re tabling, you need to be as approachable as possible. Sitting behind your table, especially if you’re staring at your phone or slouching, won’t attract people to your table. Instead of sitting, stand at the side or even in front of your table. Smile and say hello to as many people as possible as they walk by.


Your Table Is Unprofessional

Remember your table reflects on you and your organization. Try to make it as professional as possible. Don’t leave personal items like coffee or cell phones on your table. Keep extra supplies tucked away underneath. Make sure the material you’re handing out is neatly organized, and cover your table with a tablecloth.


You’re Not Handing Anything Out 

Want people to visit your booth? Hand something out! You don’t need to give away fancy, expensive “swag” to draw a crowd. A bowl of candy or a sticker with a fun quote is enough to catch people’s eye and bring them over.


You Haven’t Practiced Your Elevator Pitch

If you’re going to give up your weekend to table at an event, put in the time beforehand to hone your elevator pitch. Your pitch should be a quick, engaging explanation of who the organization is, what it does and why you’re involved.


 You’re Not Giving People a Reason to Stick Around

A quiz, game, photo booth or other activity can be an inexpensive way to both draw people in and get them to stick around long enough to strike up a conversation and begin to develop a relationship.


You’re Not Collecting Information

To get the most value out of tabling, you need to be collecting as much information as possible. Instead of taping your sign-up sheets to the table, have multiple clipboards available that you can hand out to people.

Don’t count on your memory to recall the conversations you had with people. If someone says they’re interested in learning more or volunteering, take time to make notes on your sign-up sheet after the conversation.


To learn more about effective tabling, check out our training, “Being the Best at Tabling and Elevator Pitches.” See if the training is coming to a city near you and sign up for our email list here.