Strangers knocking on people's doors are not commonly appreciated. When canvassing, you are immediately at a disadvantage. However, you can make your canvassing experience better for both you and the individuals you meet through some useful techniques. Whether the point of your canvassing experience is to identify voters, persuade individuals to register for something or persuade individuals to vote for a specific issue, tips based on psychological theory can assist you in reaching your goal.
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Emphasise Your Voluntary Assistance
When meeting a new individual, make it clear early in the encounter that you are a volunteer. When you identify yourself as an unpaid supporter for a group, the individual will be more receptive to your ideas, as you have not labelled yourself as a person with an ulterior motive. In this way, the individual will know that the ideas you speak are coming from your own mind and are not talking points of an organisation with a specific motive.
Not all individuals will be immediately receptive of your ideas. Even if you get the chance to speak to an individual face-to-face, that person may not be in a mood to listen attentively. By giving the individual handouts, such as business cards or brochures, you are letting her peruse the ideas of your organisation during a more convenient time.
Research shows that unconventional dress is associated with radical ideas. Show the individual that the organisation you represent is one with rational ideas by dressing well. Some safe choices for outfits can be formal or casual, such as suits, dress shirts and full-length dresses. Avoid dressing too flashily or wearing too much jewellery and make-up.
As you must set foot on others' property to canvass, you should keep in mind that the individual you are speaking to is the owner of the environment. Being so, remember to be polite when knocking on the door or ringing the bell. Do not knock too loudly or too many times. Ring the bell once only. Address the person by "sir" or "ma'am" and thank him or her upon leaving.
Wear a Nametag
Show the individual that you are not a nameless face representing an organisation. Attach a nametag to your clothing in an area that is easily seen. By putting a name to your face, you are letting the individual know that you are just like her -- an individual with a name, ideas, beliefs and a normal life.
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