Which Way of Talking Politics Works Better?
Plan questions that will start the right conversation. What effect will each of these approaches have on how the conversation goes?:
1. I want to tell you why the union is supporting X.
2. I'm trying to get everyone's opinions about the health care situation (or budget, contract negotiations, staffing, or other issue that worker is interested in/affected by). What do you think?
3. I have a survey that everyone is filling out so their opinion will be taken into account, and I wonder if you could take a minute so we could go over it.
4. I've got a petition that everyone is signing so we can let so-and-so know that _. I'd like to take a minute to ask you about it.
5. The union asked me to talk to you about registering to vote and giving money to the COPE fund. They've got a drive going to get at least half the membership signed up.
6. We're trying to help our party win this year and are hoping you will help.
Find common ground. How will responses like these affect whether you connect?
1. I have to disagree with you on that. If you look at the facts…
2. I know how you feel. A lot of people feel that way. What do you think we can do about it?
3. That's a good point. In fact, that's actually why a lot of us have decided to get involved…
4. That's our problem. If everyone thinks that way, then…
Connect politics to bread-and-butter concerns. What's the difference between these?
1. We've got to stop the right-wing agenda that some of these politicians are pushing.
2. Obviously, our contract is our first concern, and whether we like it or not it's affected by politics.
3. The news media doesn't always talk about this, but a lot of our problems with the budget and layoffs actually start with political decisions that are being made in Washington as well as here.
Provide facts, not just rhetoric. How will members respond to…
1. X is the most anti-labor president in a long time.
2. This leaflet gives the facts about three actions X took that hurt working families.
Ask them to do their share because we are stronger together. Compare…
1. We're asking everyone to give $X per week.
2. Most people I've talked to have been signing up because if we all do our share, we'll all be stronger and have a better chance of winning on issues like we've been talking about.
3. Your vote counts (or you can make a difference).
4. If working people stand up and vote together, we can make politicians listen to us.
Show that we can win. Compare…
1. Big corporations are winning every political battle. We've got to fight back.
2. We're up against some tough opponents, but we showed when we won X that if we all get involved we can fight back and win.
Keep the door open. Which approach will work with uncommitted members?:
1. I appreciate your time and hearing your opinions. Let's keep talking about this another time.
2. Well, I'm sorry you don't want to sign up. If you change your mind, let me know.
Courtesy of TheWorkSite.org