In Action, Phone Calls and Phone Banks

Here are some other hints to get over any qualms you might have about joining a phone bank.

Take advantage of everyone around you: Phone bank leaders start by explaining the purpose and issue of that day’s calls. You’ll get experienced hints and advice. You’ll go over the script and learn what’s really important, so you can focus your calls on the heart of the matter. Talk about the script … what would make it better? Ask for coaching. One good question for the whole group: How do you break the ice or get people to stay on the phone when they realize it’s a political call?

Make it from your heart: Adjust the script so it sounds like you. What would you like to hear if you were in their shoes? How would you talk to a friend? What matters to you? Finally, read your personalized script to yourself or even a fellow volunteer until you can hear your own voice.

Be human: Callers have actually used the wrong name of the person on the other end and said, “Sorry, I’ve been on the phone too long; it’s because this issue is so important to me.” You’re talking to a real person so be real yourself.

Put yourself in their shoes: When people hang up, recognize that you might do the same. The person answering the phone might be walking in the door, watching their favorite TV show, or burning dinner. When people try to get you off the phone, sympathize with them right from the start. “I must be interrupting something important, but …”

Relax: Contrary to public opinion, you aren’t trying to convert anyone. You’re calling people who have a history of voting Democrat. Your goal in these calls is simple: encourage left-leaning people to get to the polls and even volunteer. These are special elections, so people aren’t getting deluged by callers; they will be more amenable to talking.

Be human: You can say things like, “One time I forgot to vote; since then, I’ve made a plan so I follow through. What’s your plan?” Or “They want me to get answers to these questions… can you help me out?”

Deal with the hang ups and rejection by having fun: Go with a friend. Bring your favorite expensive latte. Sneak a cookie from the kitchen. Between calls, play Sudoku or solitaire. Dance to the Muzak. Talk to the person next to you. Even, write postcards to voters.

Some people dread making calls, but almost everyone rises to the occasion. Don’t let a few butterflies get in the way of making progress towards a left-leaning country.
Click here to read about the effectiveness and benefits of phone calling to increase voting and volunteerism.