Reboot. Be Urgent.
January 17, 2013
Q. It is a new year and a new legislature. Where do I advise my clients to start with their issues?
A. In theory, the legislative slate has been wiped clean – bills not passed by the close of 2012 need to be reintroduced. In reality, the issues remain the same –from the state budget and road funding, to insurers seeking a level playing field.
Start again; reboot the basics. Partner with like-minded advocates. Be persistent.
Starting again with the basics means not serving up yesteryear’s leftovers. Instead, spend time repackaging your issue. Develop key messages –no more than three– that are newly urgent and command attention. Make sure that your key messages strike a chord with stakeholders, stress the benefits of what you are proposing, and use data or stories that are memorable.
Partnering with others who can be advocates for your cause will spread the word about the benefits of your proposal. Coalitions are time-consuming but yield results ten-fold. The old adage of the squeaky wheel gets the grease applies. There are examples, good and bad, that prove this point.
Be persistent. Communicate often and consistently, using your key messages at every turn. Use social media. Texting and blogging are not just reserved for teens and journalists. Be selective; avoid drowning people in too much information.
Finally, if your clients haven’t written a personal note of welcome to new legislators, have them do it today. Likewise, take time to thank former legislators and staff for their past support. Lansing is a small world with a long memory.