On March 13th, 2018, LCN held a 90-minute online training event with David Fleischer, on “Deep Canvassing: Changing Voters’ Minds Through Conversation,” for 119 people from 23 countries.
David directs the Leadership Lab at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. He began by sharing his experience of losing the 2008 California marriage equality referendum campaign, which led David and his Leadership Lab colleagues to develop the deep canvassing approach to determine why people were susceptible to the anti-marriage equality campaign.
They canvassed 100,000 people in door-to-door one-on-ones lasting 10 to 20 minutes each, seeking to speak with marriage equality opponents. Canvassers were trained for 2.5 hours to do 2 hours of one-on-ones in teams of two, asking participants for permission to film the conversations. David and his team sought to learn what does work in changing minds. Their experience showed that being curious, vulnerable and willing to listen allowed canvassers to bring the conversation to a personal level, shifting from opinion to story to understand what underlies the opinion.