“Tabling” is when a group sets up an information table in any specific location with the purpose of educating people. It’s a powerful opportunity to:
1) Raise awareness about peacebuilding and other peace policies and legislation
2) Enroll others in supporting our efforts
3) Raise funds
4) Contribute to a culture of peace on the planet.
It’s also easy, simple and FUN! Here are some tips to support you. After you table, please share your tabling successes and challenges so we can update and expand these tips for others.
If you write up a story and send up a photo, we will consider it for publication in our Stories from the Field section.
Be the Change
- Demonstrate a “Culture of Peace. You can forget every other item as long as you remember this! Even if no one signs up at your table, you help bring forth a culture of peace by simply being the change and modeling the new possibility. Conduct yourself in a way that people catch the vision of a world where peace is the organizing principle. They may not see peace in the world, but they’ll see it in you and start believing it’s possible!
- Prepare yourself by remembering your values and why you’re passionate about peacebuilding work. Visualize conversations with like-minded people and those diametrically opposed and see yourself peaceful, compassionate, nonviolent and respectful. And start by being compassionate with yourself and your co-tablers!
- The key to tabling is connecting. Feel free to stand in front of or beside the table. You have just as much potential to advance the legislation by chatting with someone about their beautiful children as you do by handing out a flyer. “Good morning!” is a great conversation opener. Start a conversation, then ask if they’re interested in learning about the legislation. If the answer is “no,” continue your conversation! Remember, there is a human being before you who has value. You are planting seeds of peace; there’s no telling where, when or how they’ll take root.
- Dress neutrally, avoiding anything that might create resistance in others. Peace Alliance t-shirts are the best, of course. But if you don’t have anything, make sure you’re not wearing anything that makes a negative statement toward any candidate, elected official, administration or policy. You are pro-peace, not “anti” anything.
- Tabling is more fun with a group. Enroll two to three others to join you.
Support each other in staying grounded. It’s not unusual for people’s anger to get triggered—either anger at current events and leadership, or anger at you for standing for a new possibility. Don’t get pulled into the angry either/or, right/wrong conversations.
- Tips for Dealing with Others’ Anger
- Remember anger comes from deep caring
- Stay neutral, neither supporting nor objecting to their position.
- Empathetically reframe it (e.g., “I can see you’re very passionate about that.”)
- Respectfully disengage (e.g., “I appreciate you sharing your point of view with me. Enjoy the rest of your day.”)
- Respectfully agree to disagree (e.g., “I can see we have really different points of view on this. Thanks for sharing yours with me and listening to mine.”)
- Before tabling, make an agreement with your team about how you will support one another in staying grounded or alerting someone who may be heading off target. Consider creating a signal —maybe a hand sign, a word, a touch, a wink or a smile—that can remind you and others to stay peaceful.
- Clothes: Wear Peace Alliance T-shirts and/or buttons.
- Location: Choose a spot where others can easily see you.
- Read up on the issues. Find one or two items that speak to you and practice briefly explaining them.
- Read other materials you’re bringing and know what you’re handing out!
- Scan current events to be aware of anything that may have bearing on conversations
- Know the Representatives and Senators for your area and where they stand on the bill
- Bring materials to hand out and enroll others. You can find many great items to download and print here.
- Create and bring a Local Area Reference binder with key information in plastic sleeves. That information might include:
- Local Rep and Senator contact information and districts, with zip codes (to help someone determine their Rep).
- Local district maps
- Contact information for local programs that effectively reduce violence (e.g., battered women shelters, gang intervention programs, restorative justice programs, etc.).
- A copy of any legislation
- Tabling Tips and Checklist (create your own list of what works for you. Then you won’t have to think about it every time!)
- Other recommended items
- Donation “bucket” or other container to collect cash donations
- T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers to exchange for suggested donation amounts (remember—you’re not SELLING anything!)
- Cash box with small bills for change
- Clipboard(s) with pen(s) attached for sign-up sheets
- Toolkit—anything you think you might need: tape, pens, stapler, flashlight, etc.
- Plan follow-up before you table. Know who will add names/addresses to databases, send welcoming emails and make calls. Be sure also to input new contact information on the website or send a copy of your sign-up sheet to National so the people you met will also get the national emails.