Our canvassing team organisers, Caroline and George Neate, give us the following insights into connecting with voters in our constituency:
Over the past year I have done a few Street Stalls and it has been very interesting to watch how my fellow Street Stallers deal with the public.
Most of the people who approach the stall are sympathisers who want to talk to likeminded people and express their frustration with the current political situation. But sometimes we get the chance to speak to an undecided, or even better, an unhappy Tory.
I have long observed that trying to persuade by expressing political views is counterproductive. Every position is countered, people who think about politics are generally well versed in their opinions. What is far more effective is listening. Actually, listening properly. This is rarer than it should be. We can all hear what people have to say but are we actually listening properly?
This article is not intended to be a lecture on Listening Skills but more a subject for discussion. We are lucky enough to have some excellent listeners in our Constituency and I was lucky enough to be on a Street Stall with one of them last week which is what triggered this short piece.
In retrospect I wish I had filmed the interaction and used it for training purposes. A woman came up to our stall and her first sentence was that she had always voted Tory. Something in the way she said it made the response ‘Oh Yes’ the most appropriate. She then told us a long and poignant tale about her daughter which involved being unable to access Legal Aid at a time in her life when she really needed it. Rather than interrupt or redirect our skilful member listened. Listened properly, giving appropriate feedback to demonstrate this. At the end of the story her situation was skilfully woven into the Labour Party ethos by our member and the woman went away intending to vote Labour at the next Election ‘Whoever your leader is’.
We have a lot of skilled people in our midst and the best way to learn is from each other.
With Thanks to Diane Cheshire.
Caroline and George Neate, Campaign Coordinators.
Caroline and George would love to hear from anybody who’d like to join their canvassing team, or help at street stalls. Please email them at THCLPcampaign@tivertonhonitonlabour.org for more information.
Please see our main calendar above for canvassing dates for the rest of the year.