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Active Listening for Phone Bankers

Posted on January 26, 2022

The most valuable skill for callers/recruiters is listening. By listening carefully the caller demonstrates a genuine interest in understanding what  the prospective volunteer thinks and needs for re-engagement.  

Join a Swing Blue Alliance’s volunteer recruiting phone bank to practice your skills and help volunteers in swing states. Learn more here.

AVOID DISTRACTION 

  • Set your intention to listening. 
  • No daydreaming or multi-tasking. 
  • Remove things, persons or animals that might keep you from paying attention. 

DO NOT INTERRUPT 

  • Allow the other person to finish what they are saying. 

REFLECT, PARAPHRASE OR CLARIFY 

  • Repeat back what you have heard 
  • “It sounds to me like you are saying…” 

USE DOOR OPENERS 

  • Keep them engaged and talking 
  • “Tell me more” 
  • “That’s interesting” 
  • “What are your thoughts about”
  • “What advice do you have…?”

PAY ATTENTION 

  • Do not use this time to prepare for a rebuttal.
  • Words and phrases like “Oh”, “I see”, “uh huh” and “hmm” show that you are listening. 

DO NOT ARGUE 

  • “I can tell you are very upset/frustrated”
  • “Tell me more” 

REFLECT AMBIVALENCE 

  • “So, on the one hand you want ___ and on the other you don’t think you can ____” 

CREATE DISSONANCE 

  • “Tell me (describe to me) what your feeling are on _____” 
  • “Can you tell me what is keeping you from supporting ___?” 

LOOK FOR COMMON GROUND 

  • “Where do you think we could find common ground?”
  • “Is there one issue here where we do agree?”
  • “We agree on this, what else do we agree on?” 

SHOW EMPATHY FOR THEIR FEELINGS 

  • “I am hearing you say that you are frustrated because____” 
  • “That is awful!”

WRAP UP 

  • “Thank you for talking with me.” 
  • “I appreciate your opinion and understand your concerns.” 
  • “After listening to your concerns I would like to talk with representative Pappas and get back to you next week. What is a good time to call?”

This material has been adapted from Building Bridges for America‘s tips for skilled listening.