So You Want to be a Successful Lobbyist?

Here’s How!

Last week we had an intern training session, and many of the tips and tricks of lobbying we learned would be helpful for anyone who would like to get involved in activism. Here are a few things to remember when planning your future as a Successful Lobbyist. picture-16

First, always remember that lobbying is about strategy. Successful actions are rarely haphazard or random. When devising your strategy, be very clear about what it is you are trying to accomplish. Is it reasonable? Is it winnable? Is it focused? Your strategy will be the foundation for your tactics, so make sure you have it down.

Now, who can give you what you want? And to whom are they accountable? The best way to tackle this is through a strategy called Power Mapping, in which you consider the power relationships between your opposition and those who ultimately make the decisions. Once you narrow this down, you can begin to devise how you will reach those people, and how you can persuade them to take action towards your goal.

Because the point is to change or readjust the perspective of the opposing party, you must first begin to understand their motivations…Consider what drives their decision-making. If he or she is a legislator, it might be to be re-elected, or to “look good” in the public eye. Especially for legislators, the public has a huge influence on their personal motivators. When assessing your strategy, consider how you will use these motivators in order to encourage the opposition to join your team.

Form a coalition—or join ours! Two heads are better than one, and sometimes it can take an army. Consider other organizations or people that are like-minded, and would be willing to support your cause. Frame your goals with their principles in mind. How does this particular issue affect all of us? What affect could it have on their organization and their long-term goals?

When trying to gather information for your cause, try and use comparative facts. If you are looking at a state issue, how does Texas compare with other states? If national, how does the US rank with other countries? Consider what we are doing better than everyone else, as well as the areas that we trail behind.

Also, choose your words wisely. When you are trying to persuade and encourage   certain actions, they will be less likely to support you (or even hear you out) if you come across as insulting. Even if you do think someone is a moron, just keep it to yourself.

And finally, don’t get discouraged! If there’s anything I’ve learned at Public Citizen thus far it is that this is a long battle. Wins hardly ever come as quickly as you need them to, but every noble fight is winnable. Just be clear, be organized, and be motivated. As Andy so eloquently advised, “Politics is decided by the people who show up.”

Keep checking TexasVox to stay involved with our strategies and progress as we continue our fight for environmental issues.