The most common question I hear when asking someone to officially take on a position in their Precinct’s Committee is: “What am I supposed to do?”
The short, and arguably oversimplified answer is to basically be a good neighbor: go out of your way to meet and develop friendships with those who live in your Precinct.
However, such a response gives very little guidance and therefore very little assurance. And so, in order to alleviate anxieties, helping first time Precinct leaders as comfortable as possible, here are a few initial suggestions on the roles and duties of a Precinct leader:
• Immediately after introducing yourself, always ask a question that cannot be answered by a simple Yes or No, but instead will engage the voter to actually think and respond with their opinion.
• Remember that this is a “listening canvas”, therefore your primary task is to listen. Be interested in their answers instead of formulating your next question, because it’s their answers that are going to effect action.
• Let the voter guide the conversation. If they seem interested in a particular topic then ask them more questions about that, and related topics.
• Try to keep eye contact as much as possible. Try not to bury your nose in papers. Give them your full attention, as if they are the only person worth talking to.
• Always have a handful of fall-back questions in mind for when the conversation falls flat. If the voter doesn’t seem interested in a topic you just asked about, jump to a different one.
• You can always ask open ended questions, such as: “What, in your opinion, is the most important issue government should be dealing with? What are you most concerned about? What is the best thing you’ve seen or heard about happening in our Country or in the World?”
• Always be familiar with, and carry with you a list of various resources/organizations which you could share with the voter based on the issues they seem most passionate about.
These are just a few tips for when you’re out meeting your neighbors. There will be a much more comprehensive guide at our Precinct Organization and Training meeting on May 23rd in Owensboro, which will be available thereafter and posted to this site.