26TEN Chat: Getting Ready
Want to raise the subject but don’t know what to say?
It can be hard to raise the subject with someone you know. 26TEN has prepared some handy chat starters you could use at work, at home, or out and about in your community.
The chat starters give you a springboard – a way to dive into a conversation that could refer a person to get some support. Having an opening line may give you the confidence you need to get started. Use our chat starters as they are, or adjust them to suit you.
Is now a good time to talk?
It is important to ask the person if they would like to have a chat with you. This sounds formal, but it’s a good idea to check first. They may be having a bad day, or be in a rush, or not feeling well. You may not know this unless you ask.
Are you feeling up to starting this conversation today? Do you have the time and headspace for this chat? If not, perhaps schedule a meeting or coffee catch-up so it’s in your diary for a later time. It is a conversation worth having in person.
Are you feeling calm?
Being calm will help the other person feel comfortable. It is normal to feel nervous. Remember that all you are doing is introducing a service they may be interested in. There is no rush.
What if they get upset?
There are many reasons why reading, writing and maths are difficult for people. The person may become emotional when talking about these. Remain as supportive and calm as you can. Offer tissues, listen and encourage, depending on what information they are sharing. If you feel out of your depth, you can mention that a number of helplines offer free counselling (organisations like Lifeline offer crisis counselling 24hrs).
What if they become defensive?
It is OK if they turn down your offer of any information or cut the conversation short. They may not be ready or see the need. You haven’t failed by raising the topic.
If appropriate, you may like to mention that ‘my door is always open’ or offer information to look at in their own time. This may be the first time someone has asked them about whether they would be interested in some learning support. It can be very confronting. Remember that you have taken an important step by bringing it up.
What happens when someone calls 26TEN’s 1300 number?
The call will be answered by a trained educator.
The educator will ask a few questions about the sort of help the caller would like and ask which area they live in. They may offer to link the caller with:
- local one-on-one support or group classes
- help by mail or computer
- teachers and others that can help
- websites and books to help them learn
Many support options are free for Tasmanians.
What do I do after my 26TEN Chat?
Sometimes a bit of encouragement is all somebody needs to ask for help. However, it can take weeks, months, even years for someone to take the courageous step of seeking help with their reading, writing or maths. Don’t be disappointed if the person doesn’t take up the offer of information immediately.
Follow-up Chat Starters:
“How did you go with contacting 26TEN?”
“If you need that number for 26TEN again, let me know. Happy to give them a ring on your behalf if that would be easier? Happy to help.”
“How are you feeling after our chat the other day?”
“If you wanted someone to go along with you to meet the tutor, I’m happy to. I know it’s daunting, but at least you won’t be on your own. Or we can meet afterwards if you like?”