Chapter 15.  More on Interacting with Adults

 

Never work just for money or for power. 

They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night.

 

Marian Wright Edelman,

American advocate of children's rights and programs

 General Advice

More about Your Presentation

First Contact

Time Saver and Second Contact

 

 

General Advice 

Remember the acronyms “SCARF”, “SHE”, and “SAT”. 

These acronyms help our local-currency staff remember what to do before, during, and after a meeting.  It is strongly advised that all this be discussed and rehearsed. 

First, SCARF.  “S” for setting up a meeting, “C” for confirming a meeting, “A” for attending, “R” for recording, and “F” for following up.  There is advice for each letter of the acronym.   

Beginning with “S”, give enough information to set up a meeting.  Then go to “C”:  confirmation should be done one or two days before the meeting date.  When setting up and confirming, communicate a message in at least two ways and offer at least two ways to reply to you.  See “Making First Contact with Adults in the Community” in this chapter, as well as chapter 5. 

As for “A”, when attending a meeting, do so in a team, so that you and your partner help each other present and answer questions.  Under “A”, use the acronym “SHE”, “S” for smiling, “H” for handout, and “E” for explaining.  In other words, be friendly and talkative when meeting an adult.  Smile, shake hands and give your name.  Begin a conversation by being friendly:  ask the adult about his / her organization or profession.  “Explaining” means that you and your partner give a brief oral presentation and answer questions.  Speak loudly, clearly, and slowly;  look at the adult.  You may certainly use notes as a guide, but do not read your notes word for word, and do not recite as if doing a poem;  rather, you and your partner take turns explaining our local currency as if it were a fond memory which you were sharing comfortably with friends.  You back each other up.  After explaining, give the adult a written presentation in a binder, typed in your own words or copied from chapter 2.  After the local currency is printed, you can add a sample to the binder.  Alternatively, to save paper, if the adult has Internet access where you meet him (ask in advance), you can show the adult pertinent pages at our Web site;  however, do not expect him to visit our site and find pertinent pages on his own, even if he said that he would do so.    

 “R” is for “recording”, which means that, during the meeting, you and your partner always write down key facts, decisions, promises.  Beyond that, if you wish to take pictures, or do a video or audio recording, ask the adult before beginning.  Pictures and recordings might be useful to you as you apply for college, scholarships, and jobs, as well as to fellow local-currency staff members.

Finally, there is “F” for follow-up, which is indispensable for continued success.  The two components of follow-up are expressed by “SAT”, summarize and thank.  You summarize the notes which you and your partner wrote down at the meeting;  within two days after the meeting, you send the summary in two ways to the adult.  Why?  The adult might well be so busy as to forget key details of the meeting, including his / her decisions and promises.  Your summary should start with a “thank you” to the adult for having met.  You then would mention any activities and time line agreed to in the meeting, as well as who would do the activities.   Important:  clearly say what the next step would be.  End the summary with your name and two ways to contact you.

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More about Your Presentation 

Your oral presentation should be brief, shorter than the written presentation.  Here is a guide for an oral presentation (** means that you must include): 

Ø    ** who we are;  two to four sentences;

Ø    ** what we are doing;  one to two sentences;

Ø    ** why we are creating and operating a local currency;  see chapter 2 for the reasons for the community;  see chapter 3 for your personal reasons, which you could mention;  four to eight sentences;

Ø    ** our expectations, that is, how many businesses (hundreds) and people (thousands) we hope to have using our local currency so that we have more socially-useful activities and more business in our community;  three to six sentences;

Ø    ** what we are asking;  who already has agreed;  two to four sentences;

Ø    how we are going about creation and operation of the local currency;  two to four sentences;

Ø    how any concern over the integrity of our local currency is to be handled;  briefly, there will be (a) a board of directors, an (b) advisory board, (c) a reserve of federal dollars to back the local currency, and (d) anti-counterfeiting measures worked into the design;  four to eight sentences;

Ø    as for how much the local currency will cost to create and operate, that will be calculated and presented by team 6;  the sources of income will be interested government, businesses, and foundations;  there will be no appeal for donations or traditional fundraising like chocolate sales;  four to eight sentences.

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First Contact

MAKING FIRST CONTACT WITH ADULTS IN THE COMMUNITY 

A member of E-News team eight did a rough draft in advance of contacting an elected official.  The 
newsletter teacher’s reply and advice, below, is useful for local-currency teams 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10, 
even though some of the words in (C) would be different. 

Hello, Vanush.  Thank you for doing the rough draft.  It is clear and simple, which is good.  I am going to share a lesson which you probably would not learn in high school or college, but which would be valuable to you in your career.  Please refer to my footnotes in (A) and (B) and how the message would look redone (C).  Feel free to ask questions.  Van, the newsletter teacher 

(A) VANUSH’S ROUGH DRAFT WITH TEACHER’S FOOTNOTES INSERTED

 

[1] [2] [3]

[4] Ms. Juárez, [5]

I am contacting you regarding setting up an appointment to interview you about

Montebello E-News[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] Please contact me with possible time and dates when 
we could meet. [11] [12] 
(B) EXPLANATIONS OF TEACHER’S FOOTNOTES
 
[1] The date should always be included,  to encourage the person reply quickly.
[2] Proper title and name.
[3] Two ways to contact the person should be listed under his or her name.
[4] There should be a salutation.
[5] In a business letter, we use a colon instead of a comma.
[6] Even when an adult is supposed to know about our project, we must not assume that he or she would 
remember.  It is a useful courtesy to add a few words of explanation.
[7] We should mention who we are.
[8] Why should the person take of his or her time?  We should explain in one sentence why our project is 
important.
[9] We should give enough detail about what we wish to do with him or her so that he or she prepare.
[10] We should politely hint to or tell the person that we would like to meet as soon as possible.
[11] With regard to meeting, we must avoid leaving a decision to the person, as he or she might be too 
busy to make a decision or might forget.  So we make suggestions, to make it easy for him to decide 
quickly, and we say that we will be contacting him. 
[12] The message should end with your name and two ways to contact you, including your school e-mail 
address.
 
(C) THE ROUGH DRAFT REDONE SO AS TO BE VERY EFFECTIVE 
 
November 16, 2006  
 
Honorable Benita Juárez
Montebello City Council
[fax number for faxing or mailing address for hand-delivery]
[e-mail address]
 
Dear Ms. Juárez:
 
I am contacting you regarding setting up an appointment to interview you about Montebello E-News, 
the first e-mail community newsletter to build a bridge of communication between our city and our 
community.  I am a student at Montebello High who, with other students, is publishing E-News.  We 
believe that E-News would become a very useful source of information to enable our city and 
community to work together.
 
We hope to interview you for about half an hour about the ten things which you wish most for our 
community to learn, about our city, our laws, our community, and our people.  We would turn those 
ten things into lessons provided through E-News.  Because our first issue is scheduled for publication 
on November 30, we are hoping that we could interview you soon.  My teammate and I are available 
[list all the possible days and times for the next seven days], and we can meet you at city hall.
 
I will be in touch soon.  Thank you.
 
Vanush Voskanian
nush2345@montebello.k12.ca.us
323.555.8901 cell  
   

After sending this message out in two ways, call to be sure that it has been received.  If you have not heard in two days, call and leave a message.  Keep repeating every two days until there be an answer.  Important:  does your cell phone’s greeting sound professional?  See what chapter 5 of this textbook says about the greeting.  If you do not wish to change your greeting to make it sound professional, do not give out your cell number to adults;  you will have to find a telephone number with a professional-sounding greeting to give out to adults.

The format above should be used for voice mail, also, so that an adult know who you are, why you are leaving a voice mail, and when to expect you to contact him or her again.  The difference is that a voice mail will be shorter.  Be sure to begin a voice mail with a greeting and end with a “thank you”.

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Time Saver and Second Contact

You might make first contact with other than a letter.  This might save you time.

(1) Call the adult and ask for an e-mail address and fax number, if these are available;  remember that we try to contact an adult in two ways;  do not explain by telephone what you are doing, as a busy adult probably would misunderstand.

(2) E-mail and fax the person.

(3) Follow up the same day with a brief call, even leaving a voice mail, to say that you have e-mailed and faxed.

What if an adult has not timely replied to your first contact?  Remember that, per the preceding section, you end your message with “I will be in touch soon”, so that you be back to the adult in two days.  Also, note this advice:

If you have not heard in two days, call and leave a message.  Keep repeating every two days until there be an answer.  Important:  does your cell phone’s greeting sound professional?  See what chapter 5 of this textbook says about the greeting.  If you do not wish to change your greeting to make it sound professional, do not give out your cell number to adults;  you will have to find a telephone number with a professional-sounding greeting to give out to adults.

Keep a written record of your calls.  If after four times, you still have not heard from the adult, speak with somebody in his / her office and ask what you should do.  If there is nobody with whom to speak or if you do not get a satisfactory answer, report to your team leader, so that this be brought up at the weekly staff meeting and a solution be offered.

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