Effective Listening & Conversation: Developing Your Skills


To make progress on the pressing issues we face today, organizers and advocates need the skills and training to turn a desire to change the status quo into meaningful and impactful civic action. But finding the time to attend a training in person can often mean time away from other everyday priorities.

That’s why OFA offers online trainings—where you can develop your skills without leaving your home. And if you miss a live online training, you can always check out the recording and watch it at a time that’s convenient for you. Whether you’re looking for introductory-level skill building or something more advanced, we have a training series for you.

OFA has designed a five part series aimed at developing skills in persuasion and communication. In this series, we cover effective listening, communicating your values, knowing your ‘why’, developing your theory of change, motivational interviewing and key skills for talking to voters — ultimately developing a suite of skills that you can use to have more effective conversations. This series combines social science, psychology, and best practices for political organizers, and gives participants room for practice, feedback, and application of the craft — right in time for 2018.

Part 1: Effective listening:

Part 2: Know your why:

Part 3: Why, how, what:

Part 4: Motivational interviewing:

Using a technique borrowed from clinical psychology, motivational interviewing helps practitioners to identify contradictions in what people are saying—highlighting assumptions that are being made, and stating them in a non-judgemental way. Research shows that when people are able to state their own contradictions, they are more likely to change their behavior. Though challenging, this training provides useful techniques that you will come back to again and again, not just in your organizing work, but in your personal and professional conversations as well.

Part 5: Voter contact best practices:

Talking to voters presents a challenge, we have thousands and thousands to talk to, but they must also be quality conversations. These two factors often create a push-pull effect; if we increase the quantity of conversations they often have lower quality but if we increase the quality we often get lower quantity. In this training we will cover three types of voter contact and how to incorporate relational organizing powerfully into voter conversations.

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