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What Do You Need to Know How to Do?

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

Skills you need for mobilizing

The skills that you need as a mobilizer are not exceptionally difficult to learn, but can be very powerful tools. They can be misused.

As an analogy, think of the skills of a lock smith. A locksmith performs many useful and valuable services, but they can be misused for breaking, entering, and theft.

As you learn mobilization skills, use them for the benefit of the community, not to benefit yourself at the expense of the community.

Since your target group is the community as a whole, most of your needed skills belong to communication abilities. You need to learn how to be a public speaker, but not just any kind of public speaker. The kind of public speaking you need to know is the kind needed for leadership and facilitation.

You must learn how to draw information and decisions out of a group, which requires a full understanding of your goals and a relaxed confidence in front of people.

You must be able to recognize preaching, lecturing, and making speeches, and avoid those styles.

The technical skills you need as mobilizer include: public speaking, planning, managing, observing, analysing, and writing. The best way to learn these is through being self taught.

You also need to develop a personal character that is honest, enthusiastic, positive, tolerant, patient and motivated.

You have to know how to listen and understand when people talk.

You have to know how to ensure that information is accurate.

You have to know how to illustrate a point and make it interesting to a listener.

You do not preach like a preacher; you do not make speeches like a politician; you do not lecture like a professor.

You need to learn how to remain confident while sensitive to others while standing among or in front of many people.

You need to know how to know and to like people.

You need to know how to avoid being self centred, vain, or arrogant.

You need to know how to lead a discussion without being bossy, dictatorial or sarcastic.

Teach these to yourself.

You learn these skills by doing (not by just reading a text book).

If you went to classes in community development, and only sat and took notes, you did not get the best training. You should practice, first in front of your classmates, then in front of a community group. See Training Methods.

Since you must organize community groups and form executive committees, you need some organizational skills.

Since you also strengthen by giving management skills, you need management skills yourself.

Since you guide community groups through their own planning, you need some planning skills yourself.

Since you advise and guide groups to keep honest and accurate financial records and accounts, you need some accounting skills yourself.

Since you guide groups in writing reports and need to write your own reports, you need writing skills.

Learn by doing.

You need to know how to learn a language fast, (see An Aural Method to Learn an Oral Language) and to become familiar with several languages in a community.

More than just technical skills, you need to have some personality characteristics that are necessary for success as a mobilizer. (Look at the training handouts: To Be a Mobilizer and Job Description).

Your reputation is your strongest asset. If you are known to be honest, diplomatic, fair, hardworking, moral, clean living, tolerant, enthusiastic, humble, and forthright, your reputation will assist your mobilization efforts. If you are not, seek a different calling or vocation.


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© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.05.14

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