Phonathon

Influencing Discourse

Influencing discourse is understanding the importance of communication in everyday life by using communication and research skills to frame and evaluate personal and local issues. This example illustrates how I applied positive communication in my university setting.

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Phonathon Fund Drive

Each year The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) holds a month-long phonathon drive to raise money for student scholarships. To do this, we call alumni of the university which also serves as a way to reconnect with them as well as update their information. I worked the phonathon twice during my sophomore year and found it to be a context in which many communication principles were at work. In this setting, we had a common goal-to reach out to alumni and raise money for student scholarships. Although we worked side by side in a room with twenty of us together, we called at an individual pace and handled calls without the direct help of others. I had varying reactions from the alums I called, ranging from, “Oh yes I loved my time at UALR! I want to give to the fund” to “Can you send me something in the mail and I’ll think about it?” to “Why are you calling so late? You’re interrupting my dinner time (or bed time)” to “I didn’t even attend UALR so can you take me off the call list?” All of these reactions to our calls required specific kinds of responses from me as the caller. Because I never knew what the person on the other end of the line would say, I had to be prepared to appropriately respond. Simultaneously, I had to respect the alum’s requests and frustrations while also doing what I could to persuade them to give. How I chose to respond reflected the university and how I viewed that person.

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