Tabling: A Social Experiment

Over the past two weeks, we have been pitching Fitalyst at tables set up at Penn's Pottruck Center and Dining Halls. We go to various locations around campus and set up a table with demos of the chatbot, hand out flyers, and get people to sign up to try Tag. Overall, it has been a great success and we reached hundreds of people.

Not going to lie, it is nerve wracking walking up to a group of people and asking them to try your product. They have so many reasons to say no. Even if it’s just two minutes, why should they take the time to listen to you?

This was my initial fear. However, it was proven wrong pretty quickly. From reading social interaction research, I knew an effective way to make someone feel comfortable with you is to mirror their body language. For example, if someone holds eye contact and is confident, you too should hold eye contact, stand up straighter, and talk louder. On the flip side, many people were intimidated by us. Three people standing and looking at you can be a little overwhelming, especially if it seems like they want you to do something.

Testing out social interaction theories was extremely interesting. Because our team is well-read in behavioral psychology research, we could try a variety of different concepts to see what works best.

One of the most effective strategies was opening with a question that students would respond to affirmatively, such as: “Are you on a dining plan?” After students said the first “yes,” it was much easier to get them to check out the product. Another strategy was to ignore rejection. Many people ignored us or simply said “I have class” and walked away. However, it is important not to take it personally and maintain a happy, relaxed, and kind attitude. After several hours of being ignored, as you can guess, genuinely smiling gets harder but it is imperative to maintain a good attitude, or else you seem unapproachable.

And it turns out that people will take the time. Many were actually genuinely interested in the product.

A few even asked how they could help us, which blew my mind; after 2 minutes of pitching, the students loved us and the idea so much they wanted to get involved.

The Fitalyst team is looking forward to speaking to more students. We are also very excited to create a product that helps Penn students stick to the health goals they want to accomplish.

Tech Carrot,

Michael Berk

P.s. If you go to Penn, and you want a sneak peek: http://fitalyst.com/penn

The Fitalyst Team consists of recent Penn graduate, Jonathan Muruako, Founder and CEO; Cameo Hazlewood, a current Penn junior studying Cognitive Science and Consumer Psychology, CMO; and Michael Berk, a current Penn sophomore integrating his Computer Science and Data Analytic skills as CTO. Find more at fitalyst.com.

Jonathan Muruako