Tabling At An Event

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This training reviews the basics of tabling - one of the best ways to educate and encourage people to take action - and provides specific practice scenarios for volunteers to prepare for active listening and effective communication skills while doing outreach.

Note: To experience this content in an interactive style to help deepen your learning, click here.

TOC and Guide Section
Core Focus For 2023

Looking for Earth Day 2023 materials? Click here: New Climate Anxiety Counseling Display for fresh creative materials for your 2023 Earth month outreach. 


As you engage the public, it’s important to know CCL's core messages for Congress this year and how to engage all citizens. One priority is to keep pushing our elected leaders to honor America’s pledge to cut emissions 50% by 2030. The policies in CCL's Policy Agenda, when enacted, will help America to achieve those cuts.

You can engage the public to join CCL's advocacy using CCL's tabling handouts for each of the policies in CCL's policy agenda.

Whenever you are with a group of people, ask them to use their phone and use our Take Action tool, Take pictures when you do this to use in social media posts.  Go big and do as many education and outreach events as your chapter has capacity for.

When people join CCL online or use an Action Tool on their phone, CCL will save their contact info so you will not need paper signup sheets. 

Be strategic, collaborate with nearby chapters and adjust as you plan so that you can reach as many people in your community as possible with the resources you have available. Also consider doing a TV or Radio interview to further leverage your local event.  

Preparing for tabling

Before you table, there are few steps to take:

  1. Confirm logistics. Know the dimensions and layout of your booth, if they provide table and chairs, and if you have internet access and electrical plugs.
  2. If you need insurance to table, fill out this form.
  3. Put together a team. Schedule a team to work the event - tabling is more fun with friends. Keep shifts manageable, typically one to two hours.
  4. Practice laser talks, including key communications like messaging for: carbon pricing, healthy forests, building electrification and clean energy permitting.
  5. Schedule follow-up. Designate someone to follow up with the folks who signup and coordinate the processing of constituent letters and postcards.
  6. Look over this training's "Resources" tab to determine what you will need when you table and determine how you'd best like to print them out. 
Tabling recommendations

When tabling, consider the following tips:

  • Have a least one person standing in front of the table.
  • Focus on what we are for (strong climate policy, including putting a price on carbon pollution/greenhouse gas emissions and returning all funds collected to the American people).
  • Avoid turning off people by raising “hot button” issues.
  • Be yourself, speak conversationally and listen carefully.
  • Avoid using dire warnings of climate doom. If table visitors bring up climate doom, acknowledge the problem and pivot to solutions attendees can get involved with (hint: CCL).
  • Be respectful and mention your member of Congress by name.
  • If you are still using paper sign up sheets, check to make sure signatures are legible and that you have their zip code. Asking people to join CCL online using their phone avoids this problem. 
  • Ask passersby to write a letter or postcard to their local member of Congress.
  • At family-oriented events, coloring pages for kids keeps parents at your table longer. 
Decide on table activities
  • Other creative options include faux dividend checks, climate coloring books, yard games, and offering a free cookie to table visitors who write to Congress using on their phone. 
  • Remember: Very few people that you speak with at a tabling event will become active volunteers. However, lots of people are willing to complete a smaller action with one of the online action tools on our Paperless Handout (see the training). Why is communicating with Congress so important? Staffers say repeatedly that hearing from constituents has a big impact. Generating many calls raises our credibility with congressional offices because it shows that we are in district creating political will for them. Folks who take the time to contact Congress are prime candidates for CCL because they are interested in communicating with their elected officials. 
  • Engage enthusiasts - Prepare for table visitors who are eager to do more. For example, you might invite them to our Wednesday Informational Session or your next chapter meeting. They can also join CCL using on their phone (they will be added to the roster of their closest CCL chapter).
  • You can also put an iPad or laptop on the table, opened to, where people can type in their details directly right there at the table!
Example tabling conversation

Be yourself and try to keep CCL's values in mind when speaking with others. A conversation at your table may go something like this:

Open:“Hi! I’m Jamie. I’m a volunteer with the Newport chapter of Citizens’ Climate. Thanks for being out here to celebrate Earth Day. What brought you out here today?

Let them respond and listen. Acknowledge what they said and ask for permission to proceed. “Would you like to hear about what we’re doing?” Let them respond and listen.

Acknowledge what they said and ask for permission to proceed.“That’s an interesting point and something we are concerned about as well. Would you like to hear about what we’ve learned?” “Would you like to join us for an introductory call Wednesday night?” “Would you like to send a letter or postcard to your member of Congress today?”

When discussing carbon pricing, some people will be dismissively cynical, claiming “there’s no way your proposal will make it through Congress.” Don’t get defensive, instead acknowledge their frustration and inspire them by describing how the conversation has changed because of the work we’re doing. Tell them about the power of putting a price on carbon and engage them in their questions, harnessing frustration into empowerment. 

Other event attendees might feel that a carbon fee and dividend policy compromises their efforts. Use the Handling Challenging Questions resource to help explain that climate solutions like a price on carbon is not a replacement for what others are doing; it complements their efforts. Applaud them for what they’re doing. Ask questions about their work and be interested.

Also ask open questions about the policies in CCL's policy agenda to learn what table visitors might like help with.

Following up after tabling

After the event, there are a few things left to do, ideally best in the first 24-48 hours.

  • First and foremost, thank the event organizers and post photos taken to your social media accounts
  • Make sure to contact new prospects, ideally via someone in your group giving a personal phone call to each. Thank them for taking the time to write their insightful comments to their member of Congress, and invite them to your next CCL meeting or to join our informational session. People who join our informational session are 12x more likely to get engaged in our advocacy work. For an example of what some CCL groups send to prospects, see the email templates in this forum post. 
  • If still you used a paper signup sheet (which we no longer recommend - instead we recommend online sign-ups), add new volunteers to your chapter rosterNote: Be sure to upload the names from your event as soon as possible after the event takes place, ideally within the first 24 hours as that is when your contacts are most likely to respond and engage with your local chapter's work.
  • Log your tabling outreach action to finish up. 
Press play to start the video (43m 36s)
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

(0:00) Intro & Agenda
(2:37) Why Tabling is important?
(4:48) Preparing to Table
(13:20) CCL's Policy Agenda Handouts and Trifold Display
(18:45) Climate Anxiety Booth
(24:05) Connecting With Your Audience
(31:38) Example Conversations

  • Elizabeth Dell
  • Thaddeus Waterman
  • Arjun Adapalli

View the Google Slides presentation.

Download the video from Vimeo.
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Skip ahead to the following section(s):
  • (0:00) Intro & Agenda
  • (1:31) Why Table?
  • (4:20) How To Prepare
  • (11:08) Review of Available Materials
  • (19:17) How To Connect
  • Brett Cease
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Go Deeper
For additional information on tabling basics, check out our training on Grassroots Outreach Basics. For more examples of creative tabling approaches, check out the Creative & Engaging Tabling Ideas training
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