Proceedings of The 2nd World Conference on Social Sciences
Communication Skills Development for Political Canvassers
Associate Professor Dr. Wittayatorn Tokeaw
The objective of this research was to study the development of communication skills for political canvassers in terms of 1) communication problems; 2) communication patterns; 3) necessary communication skills; 4) approaches for developing. This was a qualitative research based on in-depth interviews with 8 key informants, chosen through purposive sampling. The results were as follows: 1) Communication problems: canvassers lacked a deep understanding of the candidate’s policies and vision; canvassers lacked knowledge of the principles and practices of presenting information; canvassers lacked persuasion skills; and canvassers lacked a system for taking records of voters’ concerns and desires. 2) Communication patterns: (a) giving information about the candidate and his or her policies; and (b) responding to criticisms or accusations from other political parties or opposing candidates. For both purposes the methods used were group discussions, door-to-door visits, public speaking and social media. 3) Necessary communication skills: storytelling, giving reasons and justifications to counter attacks, giving examples for clearer explanation, persuading, creating phrases that are short, to-the-point, easy-to-understand, meaningful and grabbing, and creating infographics. 4) Approaches to developing better skills: workshops to change attitudes; build confidence in the candidate and the political team; give detailed information about the candidate’s vision, ideals, knowledge and abilities; teach about the principles and practice of all the necessary communication skills; provide practice by giving mock talks several times in different scenarios until the canvassers are experts at it; and follow up on the canvasser’s progress and give tailored pointers on how they could further improve.
Keywords: developing communication skills, canvasser, local politics, election campaign.