Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Physician attitudes toward politics, PACs and politicians

In the survey below you get a sense of the cynicism, doubt and discouragement many people feel about our political system. In my own focus group research I found a lot of the same feelings with one important distinction: the people expressing this kind of non specific negativity are usually people who don't know a politician personally, haven't been active lobbying for their association and haven't communicated meaningfully with a politician. People who have gotten engaged in politics, even though they didn't get what they wanted, often feel very positive about the process and politicians.

A parallel finding is that most people get most of their information about politics and politicians through the news media. Most of that information is about campaigns, which are by nature negative, confrontational and contentious and that turns off many people.

To activate volunteer advocates, help them understand the difference between campaigns (before election day) and lobbying (after election day).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

When a politician says no...

Mostly when you meet in person, even if they know the answer will be no, they will demur. The don't like face-to-face nos.
But later they will send a letter or make a phone call and say they can't support you in what you want.
They may give a reason such as, "leadership is against this and I can't oppose them."
You can explore their reasoning by asking this question in these exact words:
"You must have some reason for feeling that way, can you tell me what it is?"
Then, and this is important, resolve to find something you can get a "yes" on; you don't want to leave on a "no."
It may be as simple as "I understand you can't help us now, can we send you some more information in hopes of changing your mind?"
Always leave on a positive note.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Question of the week

How do you respond when a politician says "No"? That is, you've made your pitch and your make the ask and you get sorry, I can't help. What do you say next? Send the exact words you would speak or write.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coming This Fall: New book to help you achieve policy goals

This is the working cover for the new book on advocacy for physicians and staff. This book was developed from Joel's work training physicians through medical societies and specialty organizations. He's available to consult and keynote for your medical group.
Inside the book, and coming up in this blog, you'll find interviews with politicians, physicians, medical staff managers, association execs, lobbyists, medical students, academics and others. You'll see how you can influence public policy, get legislation passed or stopped, raise money to support candidates... all the things needed to have an impact. Stay tuned for practical tips and techniques to help you achieve your policy goals.
You can also ask Joel your questions about what works to influence elected officials (Hint: Money helps, but it's not enough by itself.)
You will learn about three ways to make your money most effective.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are the Ds and Rs really a "party?"

If you think we have two political parties, or three, try to join one. See if you can find an office. Most of the time you can't because there isn't one. If you can, as in an election season, see what it takes to become a "member." Can you get a card? More importantly, can you use this "party" or "membership" to advance a legislative agenda? Ask how you make your voice heard through this "party" to influence public policy.
That's because what we usually call a "party" is really just a campaign. What the media usually calls a "party" is a caucus of like-minded people in the Congress or legislature. It doesn't really engage you, want you or serve your political interest. It just tries to get power and keep power.
The likelihood that Obama or McCain or anyone else elected president will fix what ails you is almost nonexistent on a specific issue.
For example, if you want to change the law, your best bet is the much aligned special interest group, which performs many functions political parties ought to perform. That is, research issues, write and introduce legislation and advocate for policy.
And the special interest group includes you in the process and reflects your views.
It is more accurate to speak of the Democratic or Republican "campaign" than to call them a party. And more effective to turn to a special interest group to pass or stop legislation.
Why else do you think there are so many?