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Political Messaging & Organizing AFL-CIO Political Action Training Series.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Messaging & Organizing AFL-CIO Political Action Training Series."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Messaging & Organizing AFL-CIO Political Action Training Series

2 AFL-CIO Some don’t like it. Some don’t like talking about it. Some just don’t care. Talking about Politics isn’t Easy

3 AFL-CIO Here are some tips for creating a Political Message First, we’ll describe how to make a compelling political message. Then, we’ll review some examples. Finally, we’ll cover an effective approach for talking one on one about political issues.

4 AFL-CIO An Example of Issue Framing A man came upon a construction site where two people were working. He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man answered, “I’m laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man stood up and smiled and said, “I’m building a cathedral”

5 AFL-CIO Framing the Issue How you define or describe an issue is called “framing the Issue.” In the previous slide, two men describe the same activity, but one highlights the process, while the other highlights the outcome. Each man is right, but by choosing to highlight different aspects of the activity, each man conveys a different message about what they are doing. Likewise, we frame complex and nuanced issues by focusing on one aspect of the issue and building our message around that.

6 AFL-CIO A Message appeals to their Values Fairness Honesty Responsibility Compassion Safety Health Generosity Hard Work Community Freedom Democracy Equality Opportunity Respect Efficiency Stability What does it mean to support the issue? What does it mean to oppose the issue?

7 AFL-CIO A Message is Simple VS Easily understood Makes a simple case (yes/no, either/or, for/against) Offers a clear outcome

8 AFL-CIO A Message is Believable Messages that contradict existing opinions or knowledge will never be heard. A good message will build on the opinions, knowledge, and values already held by the listener. VS

9 AFL-CIO A Message creates a mental Picture People naturally think in images and stories. We relate ideas back to past experiences, people, feelings, and even imaginary situations. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, a strong message will evoke powerful images and feelings using only a few words.

10 AFL-CIO Frame your Issue Appeal to their Values Keep it Simple Keep it Believable Create a mental Picture 5 Tips for an Effective Political Message

11 AFL-CIO Example: Joe Kennedy and Heating Oil Issue: Support the importation of cheap heating oil for the poor and elderly Message: “No one should be left out in the cold” Frame:People are suffering because of a lack of affordable heating oil Simple: Understandable, Simple Choice, and Clear Outcome – alleviate suffering Believable: Poor people without affordable heating is not a stretch to imagine Values: Compassion, Fairness Mental Picture: People freezing to death

12 AFL-CIO Message: No one’s full time work should still leave them in poverty Frame: The minimum wage as seen by the earners Simple: Simple Yes/No question – Is minimum wage enough? Clear Outcome – if we don’t raise it people will dive deeper into poverty Believable: Yes, minimum wage is synonymous with poverty Values: Compassion, Fairness, Equitability Mental Picture: The working poor Example: The Minimum Wage (worker view)

13 AFL-CIO Message: The Minimum Wage punishes small businesses Frame: The minimum wage as seen by the employers Simple: Simple Yes/No question-do we continue to put small employers out of business? Clear Outcome – small businesses will close down = job loss Believable: Barely, most people think poverty trumps small business profits Values: Hard Work, Opportunity, Compassion for small employers Mental Picture: Mom and pop stores closing down Example: The Minimum Wage (employer view)

14 AFL-CIO Example: Taxes – What you give Issue: Taxes Message: American’s Need Tax Relief Frame: Taxes are a burden from which we need to be freed. Simple: Understandable, Simple Yes/No Choice, and Clear Outcome – Relief or Continued Burden Believable: Yes, no one like taxes Values: Compassion, Fairness Mental Picture: A heavy weight or burden holding us down

15 AFL-CIO Example: Another View of Taxes – What you get Issue: Taxes Message: We need to invest in infrastructure/education/etc… Frame: Taxes are an investment. They provide value and a return. Simple: Understandable, Simple For/Against Choice, and Clear Outcome – a return on investment Believable: Depends on the example; infrastructure and education are easily seen as having value. Values: Value, Communal Benefit Mental Picture: Long-term financial rewards, thoughtful planning

16 AFL-CIO Here are useful tips for One on One Organizing We described how to make an effective political message. We reviewed some examples.  Now, let’s cover an effective approach to talking one on one.

17 AFL-CIO Debate Approach: Who will you be? Teacher “I’m know something; you don’t.” Debater “I’m right; you’re not.” Partner “We’re in this together.”

18 AFL-CIO Listen to what the other person has to say. Ask questions to get them to talk. Their responses will tell you what is important to them, what values they care most about, and if they find your message believable and relevant. Listen and Ask

19 AFL-CIO Build on points of Agreement Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you win. Avoid trying to “win” an argument or be “right.” This is not a contest. Persuasive organizers build on common ground that everyone can agree on.

20 AFL-CIO Avoid being pulled off message. Two common ways to be pulled off message are: 1) arguing against your opponent’s message 2) repeating your opponent’s issue frame. Deliver your message and stick to your issue frame. Remember: Start a Conversation not Debate Stay on your Message

21 AFL-CIO Repeat your Message often Your message only sinks in when you repeat it. When answering questions, go back to your issue frame. Example: Q. Do you support raising taxes? A.We need to invest more in infrastructure/education/etc…. (go on to describe what you mean and why)

22 AFL-CIO Approach Listen and Ask Build on points of Agreement Stay on Message Repeat your Message 5 Tips for One on One Organizing

23 For more information on this and other political training resources, please contact: David Carpio, AFL-CIO Political Education Coordinator


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