Listening To Volunteers: Best Practices for Leaders

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NOW INCLUDES AUDIO! Slides to accompany a presentation I am giving at the 30th annual International Listening Association conference in Mikwaukee, WI. If you download the presentation, you can see the notes to accompany most slides.

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Listening To Volunteers: Best Practices for Leaders

  1. 1. LISTENING TO VOLUNTEERS: BEST PRACTICES
  2. 2. VOLUNTEERS = LIFEBLOOD  “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the nonprofit sector. Without the hundreds of people and the thousands of hours volunteers so graciously donate, most nonprofits would close their doors.” (Duke Nonprofit Program, 2007, p. 45)
  3. 3. EVER FEEL LIKE THIS?
  4. 4. SURVEY RESULTS
  5. 5. OVERALL 9% Listening 13% 39% Nonverbal Spoken Reading 35% 6% Writing
  6. 6. BY GENDER 80 70 60 50 Spoken 40 Listening 30 20 10 0 Female Male
  7. 7. BY GENERATION 60 50 40 Listening 30 Spoken 20 10 0 Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials
  8. 8. WHEN LEADERS LISTEN . . .
  9. 9. WHEN LEADERS FAIL TO LISTEN . . .
  10. 10. LEADER WHEN YOU ARE THE
  11. 11. ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIVING A MESSAGE OR IDEA.
  12. 12. STOP TALKING.
  13. 13. NONVERBALS COUNT, TOO.
  14. 14. A “NO” MIGHT ACTUALLY MEAN “NOT NOW.”
  15. 15. HAVE REAL-TIME, TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
  16. 16. SUMMARIZE TO ENSURE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND.
  17. 17. WATCH “BUT.” YOUR
  18. 18. LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE A WHILE.
  19. 19. REALIZE THAT SOMETIMES YOUR VOLUNTEERS MAY JUST WANT TO VENT.
  20. 20. DON’T ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS IF YOUR MIND IS ALREADY MADE UP.
  21. 21. WHEN YOU ARE THE VOLUNTEER
  22. 22. REMEMBER THAT LISTENING AND AGREEMENT ARE NOT THE SAME THING. ≠
  23. 23. REALIZE THAT IN MANY CASES, THE LEADER IS ALSO A VOLUNTEER.
  24. 24. PROVIDE CONTEXT TO YOUR COMMENTS OR REQUEST.
  25. 25. LOOK FOR CUES ABOUT HOW YOUR LEADER PREFERS TO RECEIVE INFO.
  26. 26. WHAT OTHER TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO SHARE?
  27. 27. RESOURCES Barrett, J., Wheatley, D., & Townsend, L. (2007). 50 DOs for everyday  leadership: Practical lessons learned the hard way. Marshall, MI: Humanergy. Diamond, L. E. (2007). Rule #1: STOP TALKING! Cupertino, CA. Listeners Press.  Duke Nonprofit Program. (2007). Volunteer management [Electronic Version].  Duke Nonprofit Management, 45-46. Retrieved April 25, 2007 from http://www.learnmore.duke.edu/nonprofit/catalog/spring/sp07_volunteers. pdf. Gaillour, F. (2007). Doctor, you don't have to be right to be valued. Daring  Doctors: Leadership and Professional Development for Physicians. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.physicianleadership.com/wp/2007/05/07/have-you-ever-been- butted-upside-the-head/. Mao, T.-T. (1968). The wisdom of Mao. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp. 
  28. 28. CONTACT ME Barbara B. Nixon, Ph.D. (ABD) Assistant Professor of Public Relations Georgia Southern University Life Member & Past President of the International Listening Association (listen.org) E-mail: bnixon@georgiasouthern.edu  Twitter: barbaranixon  Skype: barbara.b.nixon  Blogs: publicrelationsmatters.com &  listeningmatters.wordpress.com

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