Part 1 and part 2 of this series helped you identify leaders and map the workers you want to reach out to. The next step is to learn how to an effective organizing conversation that will bring workers into your campaign.
How to have an organizing conversation
The organizing conversation is the real meat and potatoes of every campaign. It should be used to not only grow your campaign but make it stronger. Successful organizing conversations will help you to build relationships, learn about the issues that are most important to your coworkers, assess their willingness to organize, and encourage them to take concrete action.
Being prepared will ensure you have an effective organizing conversation. Before having a conversation, check your surroundings for nearby managers and make sure to bring something to take notes with. While we talk to our co-workers, be empathetic, note their body language, and give them lots of space to talk. Remember the the “80-20 rule”: let them speak about 80% of the time and speak only about 20% of the time, yourself.
Seven steps to a successful organizing conversation
We talk to our co-workers all the time, but organizing discussions should help grow solidarity and lead to concrete action. Organizing conversations can still be fun, but there are seven key steps that will help to ensure they are most effective.
- Introduction: Hi! Check in, provide context, and set a positive tone.
- Getting the issues or story: What issues are they facing and what do they care about? Their answers can translate into demands for the campaign!
- Agitation: Help the worker analyze who is responsible for the issues they are facing. Who is causing the issues? Who has the power to fix them?
- Plan to win: Show them that change is possible! Present the concrete steps your coworkers are taking to build towards a better workplace and ask them how they feel about it.
- Inoculation: Bosses don’t typically like it when workers organize. Prepare the worker for management’s reaction and the ways you and your fellow workers might respond.
- Call the question and assignment: Is your fellow worker motivated to take action? You should start off small, but be sure to ask the worker to take some type of concrete action. If no one acts, how will anything change?
- Follow-up plan: Campaigns take time and require many organizing conversations. Plan a time to meet with them again so you can build the trusting relationships and robust plan of action that are needed for success.
Want to learn more? Check out this short video on the EWOC training for the organizing conversation.
When you’re done watching the video, register for the entire EWOC training series. You’ll learn a lot and meet other worker organizers like yourself. Let’s join together and win!
The rest of our five-part organizer training series can be found on our blog.