Training. It’s one of the most important things you can do as a volunteer. When you train new people successfully you can utilize them most effectively, make them feel like they are an integral part of the campaign, and develop the most prepared volunteer team that will be an unstoppable force as we work to re-elect President Obama in 2012. That being said, training new people to phone bank can be daunting. Every volunteer comes to the campaign with different experiences, skill sets, and comfort levels. However, there are some tried and true tricks and tips you can use to make sure your phone bank training goes as smoothly as possible.
1. If you are training people on Votebuilder in a large group, consider leading the training session by hooking your computer up to a TV (HDMI cable required) and having volunteers follow along with you on their laptops as you show them what you are doing on a giant screen. This is much more effective that having everyone hunched around one computer, or having to run around to everyone’s computer to point out the same thing over and over again.
2. Make people active participants. Don’t click on items for people or enter data for them – have them do it themselves. Many people learn best by doing, not by watching.
3. Train by example. Let new volunteers watch and listen to you as you make phone calls. Letting people see how it’s done (and having them see that it’s not so scary) will give people confidence to make calls on their own.
4. Although it may be cheesy, role-playing is a good way to get people comfortable making calls. Have your new volunteer play the part of the caller, with you playing the part of the potential new recruit. Run through various scenarios – everything from the enthusiastic volunteer who can’t wait to jump on board, to the unsure supporter who sometimes forgets what the President has accomplished in the face of adversity. It’s better to have a new volunteer face a tough call in a safe setting than be caught off guard once they start making phone calls.
Finally, remind people to have a conversation and share their story. People connecting with people is why we won in 2008 and why we are going to win in 2012!
Still need some phone bank training? Stop by one of Marisa’s phone banks in Santa Monica for some extra help.