The approach to telephone surveying is the same as a good conversation – good energy, clear dialogue, and interested/focused individuals.
As interviewers, we need to ensure that the respondents feel like they’re having a good conversation while they’re being interviewed. Otherwise, we’re subjecting them to an unpleasant experience which will result in an incomplete interview and might even reaffirm their disinterest in responding to opinion polls.
Though interviewers have no control over the survey’s script, we can control how that script or dialogue is presented. Therefore, when we read the script, we have to humanize it and make it easy to listen to and digest.
We must sound and act friendly, smart, and confident; which translates to being courteous and well-prepared with answers to any questions the respondent may have. We must also appreciate the time the respondent shares with us, and sound appreciative of their generosity. (It also helps to have some interest in their opinion.)
The same way it sounds and feels when we have a pleasant conversation with a friend, listen to a story from a narrator, or easily understand important news from the news anchor, the respondent should experience our interview – an enjoyable experience where information and opinions are exchanged.
No matter what, the interviewer is responsible for leading the conversation and recreating a pleasant experience for respondents.