TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ONE ON ONE COMMUNICATION
- Listen. Don’t give speeches. Draw the employee out. Let the employee talk. Be responsive to the employee’s concerns. The best organizers are the best listeners. As long as you are doing most of the talking, you are not getting the responses you need to work with someone effectively. You can give the best speech in the world, but it won’t help unless it is heard. People talk about things they know about. If you can get employees talking about their jobs, you can have a conversation instead of a sales pitch.
- Don’t assume. You may think you know what the issues are but frequently you will be surprised. Different issues matter to different people. Again, ask and listen.
- Don’t argue. You are not trying to win a debate or score points. All you do by arguing is make the person defensive. Always try to find points of agreement. Find common ground and then politely suggest other points of view.
- Don’t make a sales pitch. An organizer is not a salesperson. A Union is not a product. A Union is the people themselves. In order to truly gain a voice on the job, they must join together with their co-workers and stand up for their rights.
- Always be honest. Don’t promise what a union can’t deliver. Never invent information. People respect honesty and integrity, not arrogance. If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, tell the worker you’ll research it and get back with him/her. Then do it.
- You are building a Union. This is your union and you will have a say regarding your contract and how the union is run. Don’t fall into the “third party” trap.
- Always ask to do something. Don’t be afraid to push a little to get folks involved. Always ask someone who shows interest in getting involved to take on a task.
- Involve family members. Many times you’ll be talking to workers who are with family members. Be sure to involve those folks in the conversation too.