Look. I get it. I hate the phone too. If you’re a friend, you text. The only people I talk to willingly on the phone are my Mom and my Grandma. If I know I need to make a call, I spend almost the entire day dreading it. (It’s part of the method.) Wake up at 9 am; dread the call. Make coffee at 9:10 am; dread the call. Take the dog outside at 9:15; dread the call. The day goes on like that until the very last moment – I finally make the call. But I need to spend a good eight hours dreading it first.
But here’s the problem with that:
This democracy thing? She isn’t thriving.
So, with the future of our nation potentially hanging in the balance, I figured it was time to set aside my COMPLETELY LOGICAL phone anxiety and commit to calling my elected officials to tell them what I think.
I like to grab an actual pen and paper. I make a list of two or three issues that are grinding my gears. Narrowing it down to two or three means I get to keep the call simple. Simple = less anxiety.
Then, I write one sentence about each topic. For example, here’s one – “Americans are murdered every day due to gun violence, I support gun control – including background checks and a ban on assault weapons.” Keep it short. The people answering the phone hear the same things all day long – you needn’t prepare a manifesto. Just make your positions known.
Pick up your phone. Dial the number. Stare at the phone. Almost decide to not do this. Take a deep breath. Hit send.
You did it. Stay on the line.
If you get a machine, say “Hello, my name is _______________, I am a constituant from _______________.” And then read the items you prepared. Then say “Thank you. ” Hang up.
If you get a person, remember that you are actually talking to another real person. There’s no need to be rude, even if you are calling a politician with whom you have extreme ideological differences. You’re gonna keep it short and classy. Here’s what you say:
“Hello, my name is _________________. I am a constituent from __________________. I am calling today to let you know my positions on some very important issues.” Then read your prepared statements. When you are done, say “I hope (insert name of elected official) will take this under advisement, and thank YOU for taking my call today.”
That’s it! YOU DID IT. That good feeling you have now? That’s relief and satisfaction at a job well done!
But you’re not done yet…
What the crap? I made the call. I did it.
Yes, you made the call. You did it. Fantastic. Great job. I’m really proud of you.
You have to do it again tomorrow. With different issues.
Set an alarm on your phone. Choose a time to call every day and actually do it. Make it happen.
The more you do it, the easier it will get, until it’s no longer panic-inducing.
It totally works. I have no problem calling my Senator’s office. But I’m still not going to call to order a pizza.