Today's two presidential campaign rallies showcased a stark contrast in character and temperament: while John McCain grinned as his Pennsylvania supporters booed Barack Obama, Barack Obama heard a Florida supporter booing John McCain and said firmly: "We don't need that -- we need you to vote!"
This stark contrast between the candidates will be echoed in the field by their supporters over the next 14 days. For all Obama volunteers making house calls via phone bank or precinct walk, keeping on that higher plane will be essential to victory.
As you walk or call, consider this checklist of best practices for volunteers, excerpted from my book Campaign Boot Camp: Basic Training for Future Leaders.
Making House Calls: Best Practice for Volunteers
1. Think Locally: When You Go into a Community, Know the Customs
___ Sports (when is the Big Game? Don't walk or call then!)
___ Faith (Friday, Shabbes, or Sunday service; Wednesday prayer meeting)
___ Weather (if the voter is in the storm cellar, you should be too!)
___ Dress for success (appearance matters)
2. Act Locally: What You Say and Do Matters
___ Manners: RESPECT the voters and be an effective ambassador for your candidate
___ Listening: voters may vent! (Especially Independents or undecideds)
___ Talking: practice your script before calling or walking
3. Look Up: What's on the Air
___ Know the Issues
___ Know what ads each campaign is running (TV, radio, Internet)
___ Listen to what people are saying about each campaign
4. Look Down: Read and Study
___ Know your candidate
___ Know the opposition
___ Know local issues and events
5. Look All Around: What to Know or Whom to Call When:
___ You encounter reporters
___ A voter needs to know where to vote
___ A Voter wants to vote early in person or by absentee ballot
___ A voter talks about possible fraud or abuse of voting rights
6. Keep an Open Feedback Loop
___ Volunteers: report back to headquarters what is (or is not) working
___ Campaigns: discuss volunteer and voter comments
___ Remember: A steady, positive attitude is everything!
As volunteers, we are all ambassadors for our candidates. When voters receive our house calls, will they see erratic negativity or steady idealism? My hope for those wishing to elect President Barack Obama is that we all consider the spirit of today's Obama rally, of our candidate's constant steady leadership, and bring that attitude to each and every house call. Let Barack Obama's admonishment be our mantra - "We don't need that [negativity] - we need you to vote!"