Well I've been on campus a ton lately. Follow me on twitter @jeffdude, @ufhillel and on facebook.com/ufhillel because we have been doing tons of social media contests. Things range from "come say hi to jeff and you'll get a t-shirt" to "First person to do a cartwheel in front of our table gets a Kiddush Cup".
I have been so lucky to table with some amazing, enthusiastic, and fun students! And we have had a really fantastic turn out on campus. And to be honest I want to leave a legacy of quality campus out reach at Hillel. So I am going to do something I have been debating for months now. I am going to share with you all my secrets to perfect success at tabling. I mean look at this, it just screams success.
This was taken at the Religious Opportunities Fair last week. That's me on the right. It was a really good day of tabling. Lot's of cards were taken, lots of information was gathered, and lots of T-Shirts and Kiddush Cups went into the hands of some lucky Jewish Students.
If you have ever walked on the UF Campus, either through the Colonnade at the student union, or in Turlington Plaza, you have likely been flyered, pamphletted, tabled, and called a harlot who will burn in hell for not accepting Jesus into your heart (more on that last one in a different blog post). Anyway you probably ignore the person who hands you the flyer or immediately throw it out after taking it. I discovered many years ago when I was a Gator Growl AD that I had a gift. I could get people to take my flyers, laugh, and even thank me for giving them the flyer.
There's are sacred trade secrets. It has taken me years to perfect my methods. Don't blow it.
1. Don't say what you are flyering for.
Seriously, I don't walk around and shout, "Jewish Life on Campus!" "Hillel, your Jewish home away from home!" If I did that no one would stop. Instead I shout in a high-pitched-silly-slightly-obnoxious-old-man-from-brooklyn-who-only-eats-kippered-salmon-and-gefilte-fish-voice, "Who likes matzah balls?" When I see someone smile I hand them a flyer and say to them in my normal-smooth-urbane-voice, "Come by Hillel Friday, we got tons of Matza Balls." This works incredibly well. Some folks who table with me might get red-faced by these tactics, but they resonate and deliver.
That's just common sense. Do it a lot. Even when your aren't tabling. Boom, nice little life lesson for you. Nobody will be coming to talk to you to see what you are pushing or take your flyers if you have a farbissina punim.
3. Get away from your table.
You permitted for a table, mazal tov you've passed cheder. But that's just the place to put your gear, swag, and sign-up sheets. You sitting behind the table will reach the 0-3% of people who are seeking your table out. 97-100% of people out there don't really care that you are sitting behind a table. Be in front, be visible, and connect. Once you do, you can bring them to the table to give them an "I <3 Israel" pin or birthright sign-up playbook or Hillel t-shirt or get their contact info or whatever else you have going on.
4. When it's cold bring cocoa, when it's hot have ice-pops.
This is like the holy grail of tabling. It's probably my biggest give-away. The other things take a shtickle of chutzpah but any one can do this one, and everyone should do this one (except you, and you know who I mean). When it's Summer B and the plaza is over 100 degrees my cooler full of ice-pops just makes the kids go crazy. I even had a bicycle cop stop me, ask for an ice pop, and then come back an hour later for another one. But wait, what's that laminated 4x6 piece of paper wrapped around every ice-pop handed out? It's a Hillel flyer, you're welcome. Same thing in Winter (if it ever comes to Florida this year) except that it's hot cocoa. Give folks a nice small cup of cocoa, with a flyer around the cup.
5. Make friends with your neighbors, unless it's a crazy preacher, then change neighborhoods.
How many Jews are on this campus? A shit load! About 8,000 of 50,000 students are Jewish. That includes undergrad and grad. Lets do a little math, that means 8 out of 50 students are Jewish, 4 out of 25, 2 out of 12.5, and finally 1 out of 6.25 students overall are Jewish. Let that marinate for a second.
That means out of the 5 people at the cultural table next to you and and 7 kids at the pre-professional table on the other side you might have a few jews. Only might, don't get too excited. However, out of all those kids, they will 100% have jewish friends. Make friends with your neighbors and they will be taking your flyers for their friends. Sometimes this next thing happens, and when it does, it is awesome. If you're lucky they will see their jewish friends, those jew friends will come over to say hi and (only if you did a good schmooze job) you'll be introduced as the new friend who the old friend should meet. A referred connection has an automatic trust that a cold connection takes time to build.
OK Grasshopper, believe in yourself. You can do this. Si se puede! Start with these, and in a little while I post more tips and tricks like "The Flyer Fling", "Shofars Sure Do Work", and the extremely advanced, "Candy from a stranger".
I'll be on campus tomorrow tabling with BCI, hope they're ready for it!
***WARNING*** Do not abuse these! I put these here out of chesed! There is one group in town that has copied some of our social media techniques (you know who you are...). Don't simply copy us make it your own! I look forward to seeing you out there, happy tabling.
Jeffrey Kaplan is an Engagement and Programming Professional through the international outreach organization Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Life on Campus. so he knows his shit. Follow him on the Twitter @Jeffdude or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.