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.
- 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…?”
- 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”
- “So, on the one hand you want ___ and on the other you don’t think you can ____”
- “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!”
- “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.