Posts

Let’s talk about our rights

In honor of America’s 242nd birthday tomorrow, we’d like to give the gift that keeps on giving – a lesson in how to talk about our rights so we persuade rather than polarize.

For us political nerds who live in D.C. and work with the federal government, or those who live in real America and work with state and local governments, it brings us great joy to name drop “Amendments,” the “Constitution,” and various bill numbers coming up for a vote.

But if you want people to understand the argument and join your cause, you have to appeal to that basic human instinct in all of us – protecting our rights.

Here are a few suggestions about how to name drop “rights” into every conversation and maintain common ground.

#1 – Amendments

Play it safe and define the amendments to include talk of rights. For example, instead of “First Amendment” or “Second Amendment,” say “the right to free speech” or “the right to protect myself.”

Doing so equalizes the playing field for those who can’t name the amendments and saves you the time and effort to explain.

#2 – Constitution

Sure, it’s a founding document and critical to the endurance of this great nation (nbd), but some think the Constitution is outdated and does not apply. Choose the path of least resistance (and greatest persuasion) by talking about “rights” instead of the “Constitution.”

#3 – Economic Freedom

Most people probably agree that economic freedom is a good thing. But in the interest of not wasting time to define a wonky term or two, bring it back to rights. Instead of “economic freedom,” say “we all have the right to do business with whom we choose.”

There’s a time and place to name drop and defend “Amendments,” the “Constitution,” and wonky terms like “Economic Freedom.” But if you need to reach a broad audience, talk in terms people understand for a cause they believe in – protecting our rights.

B²: Do Muslims hate America?

Crescent and star cartoon icon

Say what you will about Marco Rubio’s campaign for the White House or recent debate strategy, but his response to Donald Trump’s fumble on the Muslim question in last week’s GOP debate is a study in EXACTLY what to do.

The exchange looked a lot like this:

Jake Tapper asked Trump if he wanted to clarify a statement he made to Anderson Cooper only the night before: “Islam hates us.”  In true Trump fashion, he recycled a few of his favorite words (like “tremendous”) and stuck by his generalization.

Rubio realized the gaffe and used it to his advantage by first establishing common ground with Trump and then pivoting to his argument that Muslims are people too.

Well done.

This simple formula results in communications gold every time but first involves preparation and practice. Do you know how to tackle these tricky questions and then block and bridge to your talking points? Hint: common ground is your best friend.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that Rubio used to set the narrative straight:

Q: “Do you think Donald Trump is right? Do Muslims hate America?”

Rubio’s B²: “Let me say, I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says. The problem is presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences here and around the world… There’s no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember that Trump can say what he wants and suffer zero consequences. Everyone else has to play by the rules, including you. Rubio’s response to Trump’s generalization is a case study in what to do, no matter the topic – start with common ground and then pivot to your talking points. Common ground softens the blow and makes you seem reasonable. And reasonable is exactly what you want to be to cut through the noise that is this election season.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

B²: Planned Parenthood (Take 2)

PP

With the promised release of more investigative videos by the Center for Medical Progress, and the looming budget deadline at the end of the month, the discussion over Planned Parenthood and taxpayer funds will continue to make headlines. In the next couple weeks, “defund” is the name of the game.

This perfect storm makes for a news cycle rife with questions about the politics behind it all and can easily create a narrative that pits those who support life against those who support abortion.

But there is common ground – taxpayer funds!

Should abortions that lead to the selling of organs for a profit, many times without the full knowledge of the woman, be backed by taxpayers? It’s a question Planned Parenthood so desperately wants to spin.

While the media has packaged this fight into another battle in the “War on Women,” it’s anything but. Do you know how to take back the message and champion a winning narrative?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Why are you attacking Planned Parenthood by demanding their funding be eliminated?”

: “This is about making sure taxpayer funds for health care are directed towards accessible, quality care, something women are not currently receiving at Planned Parenthood. <Insert talking point>.”

Whether you talk about the twenty comprehensive care clinics for every one Planned Parenthood clinic, or the fact that Planned Parenthood isn’t licensed to perform mammograms, stick to common ground. A serious discussion about comprehensive health care for women and how it is funded should result. That’s a winning strategy.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.