TELLING YOUR STORY HOW CAN I ENSURE I AM HEARD?
Before you can begin to tell your story, preparation and careful planning is key. As you advocate for something or someone, the story you tell is part of a larger story. Focus only on the highlights of your story – the meaningful parts that enable a listener to connect with you. Practice telling your story in 10 minutes, then practice telling it in 5 minutes, and then envision having to tell in 2 minutes. Some of your greatest moments in advocacy might stem from the personal story you reduced to just a 2 minute discussion in an elevator!
Follow-up may vary, but the act is crucial. For example, follow-up with individuals within your community might include sending additional information on the issue at hand. Following-up with your elected official or regulatory agency may simply be a note to thank him or her for their time. Follow-up leaves the door open for future communication or interaction; answer any questions they may have asked, remind them of your visit, and tell them you are looking forward to the next time you meet.
Always plan to ask your listener to do something. If talking to your community, your ask might be for their vote or for them to learn more about an issue. When talking with patients, your ask might be to form a coalition. And if meeting with your elected official or a regulatory agency, your ask may be as simple as “Please consider my point of view.” Regardless of whom you are meeting with or talking to, be prepared and ask them to do something!
For tips on crafting your own message, refer to the resource and support tool, A Planning Guide for your Advocacy Efforts: Crafting your message. For more information on direct meetings with elected legislators and the legislative process, refer to section on Engaging with Elected Officials.
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