Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How to succeed in influencing opinion leaders

Like from people who can't take no for an answer and spend their time with pointless recalls, angry audience rhetoric, hate blogs, and ineffective persuasion.

How refreshing it'd be to have a group of people who though they were dissatisfied with an outcome worked respectfully and positively toward their desired outcome. A fine example of citizen intervention was the Rt. 100 rezone group, who worked tirelessly for two years and never raised their voice, never started a recall, never tore down-- but instead worked within, and eventually prevailed. I so respect that kind of citizen engagement with government.

Because the hate-posse is so negative and therefore has been unsuccessful to date, and since they have ignored the positive methods and subsequent success of the Rt. 100 folks, and since they have such heartburn over the Council's County Dispatch vote, here are some helpful tips for advocating for your position with elected leaders. It comes from a website discussing youth health. Some tips I deleted in the interest of space, and I put the tips I think need the most attention on top. "Be professional, Tell the truth, and Do not create enemies." Good advice!

Chapter 6. The Art of Persuasion: Getting the Support of Opinion Leaders and Policy Makers. General Tips for Advocacy

Be professional. Be professional in both dress and manner. Avoid criticizing other leaders, public figures, or organizations.

Tell the truth. There is no faster way to lose credibility than to give false or misleading information to an opinion leader.

Do not create enemies. It is easy to get emotional over strongly felt issues. Be sure to leave the relationship with the opinion leader on good terms to permit working with him or her again. Do not argue heatedly, and never threaten a leader. Even if he or she opposes this issue, the opinion leader could be a strong supporter on another!

Be focused.
Be prepared.
Make a specific request.
Follow up.
Target efforts.
Be gracious and respectful.


Louie B said...

Yes indeed!

Anonymous said...

Great Advice! Sounds like a Plan!