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This section contains resource material for those writing letters, speaking in public, or taking action on issues covered by PAD's mission and policies.

Tips For a Successful Meeting With Your Elected Officials
Teacher Leader Network -- Face to face meetings with your elected officials and their key staff aides are an extremely useful way to get to know them and communicate your views on important issues. Legislators, busy as they are, usually find time to meet with their constituents. Here are a few tips for having an effective personal meeting with elected officials. http://www.teacherleaders.org/Resources/talkingtips.html

The Power of Language
Liz Hrenda -- From time to time, we find ourselves in a position to speak publicly, write a letter to the editor, or participate in a discussion about an area outside our own expertise. (continued below)

Talking to the Media - Things to Remember
Laura Montgomery Rutt --
  Be Prepared: Think ahead and plan what you want to say. Sum up no more than three points you want to make (also called message points). (continued below)
 

 
 

Policy Areas:
Civil Rights Public Education
Equal Rights for Sexual Minorities Religious Liberty
Intellectual Freedom Reproductive Rights
Non Violence


 
The Power of Language, Framing the Discussion
Liz Hrenda, PAD Executive Director -- From time to time, we find ourselves in a position to speak publicly, write a letter to the editor, or participate in a discussion about an area outside our own expertise.
   At a March 2001 conference, we asked experts in each policy area to identify the most crucial current issues, as well as the most effective and appropriate language about those issues. Based on their work, we agreed on a few salient points and developed language which we can all use when speaking about them.
   By utilizing the same language consistently, pro-democracy advocates can define these issues, as our language becomes the accepted way of talking about democracy. Consider how the phrase "pro-life," which doesn't have any inherent meaning, has come into common usage to identify those who oppose a woman's right to choose. Through the use of this language, the debate about abortion rights focuses on the rights of a fetus rather than on those of a woman, who is, presumably, alive. The language that we use shapes the discussion.
   These brief statements can be useful talking points for your letter to the editor, lobby visit, or news media interview. Their purpose is not to be the final word, but to prompt the general public to consider the pro-democracy position. We hope you will find them useful.
   Let us know how you use them, and please send copies of your letters, articles or interviews to us at mail@padnet.org.



 
Talking to the Media - Things to Remember
Laura Montgomery Rutt, Lmrutt@dejazzd.com

  • Be Prepared: Think ahead and plan what you want to say. Sum up no more than three points you want to make (also called message points).
  • Be Yourself: Short personal stories are powerful: use them! (Be sure to have them thought out ahead of time.)
  • Be Mindful: You are not required to answer the question that was asked. Respond,"I think more to the point is the fact that (insert your message point)." Reporters sometimes don't know the right questions to ask and are fishing for the right angle. Help them out.
  • Be Proactive: Do not allow reporters to frame the debate. This puts you on the defensive.
  • Be Positive: Do not repeat negative phrases or let reporters' questions draw you off message.
  • Be Respectful: Do not assume the reporter is friendly to our cause, but treat reporters with respect and congeniality. They are the ones that get our message out.
  • Be Cautious: Never speak "off the record."
  • Be Brief: ALWAYS try to bring any question back to one of the message points in your answer.
  • Be Quiet: Once you have made your point, stop talking. Rambling on opens the door to being misquoted or taken out of context.
  • Be Smart: A good reporter will always ask, "Is there anything you want to add?" The only wrong answer to this question is NO. If you have nothing new to say, reiterate your message points. If you forgot one of your message points, state it now.
  • Be Happy: After the interview, you will think of things you wanted to say but didn't. Remember, any publicity is better than no publicity. We learn from our mistakes.



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