Thanks Max! I too am not certain that this is the correct approach, and think there is a good case for longer form conversations due to the reasons you give. The rough case I’d make for the “maximizing” approach is:
1. It’s easy to scale: You can easily gather 5-10 members of your group, give them 10-15 minutes of guidance and put them on the stall. I slightly worry about group members who are newer to EA having long form on-boarding conversations with new and interested people (in EA Oxford, we’ve previously taken some time to verify that people are knowledgable enough to have formal 1-1 conversations with newcomers).
2. Activities fairs are often noisy and as such don’t represent the best environment to engage in long form conversations.
3. Even if you do have long form conversations at the stall, they likely won’t last longer than 5-10 minutes, which I think is generally not enough time for someone to properly understand what EA is. Often, when engaging in longer conversations at activity fairs, I’ve observed people come across as somewhat skeptical of EA, but in such a way that upon further reflection I could imagine them being reasonably excited about it. As such, it may be better to optimize for driving attendance at longer form events, such as a 1-1 coffee chat or a 1-hour introductory talk.
I agree that this approach could come across as unfriendly, and that it’s important to make sure stall-runners are aware of this. Overall, I see this as a downside, but one that is probably worth it in the long run.