SLIDES: Story-Based Text Persuasion
Texting and Persuasion
Persuasion is a vital part of any electoral campaign's field or distributed programs.
Compared to talking to voters in person or over the phone, peer-to-peer texting is typically not the best contact method for attempting persuasion. However, there will always be voters who you simply cannot reach by calling (because they just won't pick up) or knocking their doors (because they just won't answer). Similarly, there will likely be circumstances where your ability to make calls or knock on doors is limited by your volunteer capacity, budget, or the amount of time left before the election. In both cases, the efficiency, scale, and high open rates of peer-to-peer texting make it a powerful tool for reaching those otherwise unreachable undecided voters.
The most effective approach to persuasion that we know of is based on sharing real-life personal stories with voters, forming a genuine human connection in the process. This is no less true for persuasion texting. In fact, forming that connection is all the more important since texting is a generally less personable medium compared to talking with someone in person or over the phone.
The idea behind story-based persuasion is that when a volunteer shares their story and listens carefully to how the voter responds, they can build the trust needed to have a genuine and open conversation that elicits empathy and discovers shared values. These can then be used to encourage the voter to reconsider or think differently about their position on an issue or candidate.
This story-based approach requires that persuasion texting volunteers undergo additional training to craft their personal stories and learn how to have highly personalized and nuanced conversations with voters. The work requires patience, care, and attention to detail, both in preparing volunteers to have these conversations and in having the conversations themselves.
Below is a slide deck that you can use to familiarize yourself with the basics of story-based text persuasion, including how to craft a compelling personal story and how to have effective persuasion conversations. These slides may also be used or adapted to train persuasion texters.