After you’ve introduced yourself, your neighbors are likely to respond differently. Here are some possible ways your neighbors may respond and some things that you might want to do.
Scenario #1: If the person is enthusiastic and interested in what you have to say.
Of course, this is the best possible scenario. If your neighbor’s response to the neighborhood program is enthusiastic you may want to ask them to get involved in ways that go beyond attending a meeting. For example, perhaps they could help you plan or host an event, meet other neighbors, or work with you on a neighborhood roster. Use their interest and skills/abilities as an opportunity to get a deeper level of involvement that makes the work of your neighborhood easier.
Scenario #2: If the person is open but hesitant.
This may mean that the person may not know much about what your role is as a neighborhood leader and what you might be expecting of them. If you have your ID card it would be good to show this to your neighbor to help establish your credibility. After explaining your role as the BAT Leader and the things you are planning for the neighborhood, reassure them that they can be as involved as they want to be. You might end your conversation by asking if there’s anything they would like to see happen in the neighborhood or if they have any questions or concerns about this program that you can address. You may want to leave a flyer or letter which reinforces the information you’ve discussed as well as your contact information.
Scenario #3: The person is clearly not interested.
If you have a neighbor who clearly wants to be left alone, it’s important to respect their right to privacy. Before ending the conversation, you might ask if there are any future programs they would want more information about or conditions or emergencies (for example, an earthquake) in which connection to the neighborhood would be useful. If they say yes, you have an opening for future involvement and you and your neighbor can decide together how best to proceed. If they say no, respect your neighbor’s wishes knowing that they may change their mind in the future.
Scenario #4: The person doesn’t speak English well.
Once you realize the person does not speak English well and you find out what their native language is, you can ask another neighbor who speaks the same language to help translate. If none of your neighbors speak the language, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the situation. We will provide assistance if possible.
Scenario #5: If the person doubts your credibility.
This is where having your BAT Leader ID will come in handy. Once people see the ID they usually will take your role as the BAT leader seriously. If your neighbor is still skeptical, show them the letter from LACF or have them contact LACF directly.
Adapted from Cupertino Block Leader document