Setting Up One to One Communication
In many cases, a key element to organizing and involving people is to talk with them one to one in order to hear their thoughts and connect to their concerns.
• Agree on a common message and schedule. Each round of contacts should be made in a particular time period—in the same week, for example—with a common deadline for reporting what people had to say. That allows everyone to get information at the same time, and makes it easier for campaign leaders to check whether the contacts were made.
• Consider home visits. If it is not possible to talk freely with people at work, home visits may be necessary. Home visits often provide an opportunity to talk to the family as well.
• Provide a handout. In most cases, people making contacts should be provided with a handout they can leave with the people at the end of the conversation. It makes them feel more confident knowing they have something concrete to give out, and gives the person being contacted something to refer back to.
However, people must be trained to resist the temptation to just pass out the leaflet and move on. Without discussion, there is no way to know what questions people have and to be sure they understand the campaign’s goals. .
• Require reports on contacts. Brief written reports on each contact allow you to make sure the contacts really are being made. Otherwise, someone may be telling you, “Don’t worry, my group is covered,” when in fact it is not.
Reports also give you a better idea of what people’s concerns are. Someone reporting without notes might leave out some conversations that the campaign leaders should know about.
If your organization has a Web site, you could set up a password-protected link where reports on contacts could be logged onto a standard form.
• Analyze results. The campaign leaders should review the reports on contacts made. What are people’s reactions to the message? What concerns are people bringing up? What improvements should be made either in message or organizational structure?