Tips and Tricks for Effective Communication


April 20, 2007, 10:51 AM
1) FOCUS on one thing. Pick a small "skirmish" topic, and that's it. If you spread out, you lose focus, and you lose effectiveness. For instance, right now focus on access to self defense (and you don't even have to use the word "gun" if you don't feel like it... see point #5...), instead of the 2nd amendment, constitutional law, the founding fathers, the federalist papers, and 3-4 other pages of rant...

2) KISS - Keep It Simple, and you won't look Stupid. There are a LOT fewer chances to screw the pooch grammatically in three two sentence paragraphs. And put a blank space between them - it makes it easier to read.

3) State your issue in the first sentence. Or at least in the first two. That may be all that gets read.

4) Be NICE. Do not threaten, or remind people that they may not get elected, or that the 2nd amendment is about Bubba rising up to march on Washington with his .30-30... They've heard all that before, and it detracts from point #1 - FOCUS.

5) Infiltrate. If they think that you're a swing voter, or better yet, on their side, they're more likely to pay attention to you.

6) Don't use jargon. Especially jargon that identifies yourself as a gun owner. If you talk about "concealed carry" or "CCW" vs. "carrying a pistol" that just makes it more likely that the letter will get pitched. THE FOLKS KNOW HOW GUN PEOPLE VOTE - they're worried about the rest of the population.

7) Editorials and letters to the editor and opinion pieces from columnists are fine and dandy, but they're not NEWS. They are OPINION. I had a drill sergeant who had something to say about opinions... A "news tip" or a press release disguised as a news tip is 100x more valuable. Especially if it gets into the paper with zero editing - see point 9...

8) KISS Part Deux: Keep It Simple, because people are STUPID. Newspapers, etc., tend to write to an 8th grade level - not because their writers are not capable of more, but because they don't want to confuse their readers. Now is NOT the time to demonstrate your extensive vocabulary or that you know how to use a semicolon; that stuff just won't fly, and will result in...

9) The Editor/Gatekeeper Is NOT Your Friend - If a news item doesn't strike them as news, if they don't like it, or if it is too complex for them to understand in 10-15 seconds (if you're lucky...), it gets canned. These guys are wading through a LOT of stuff. And there are deadlines at play. If they can just cut'n'paste something that doesn't require any editing to fill some space, guess what? They sometimes do it.

10) You gotta hook 'em. The first sentence (our term for it is the "lead," pronounced "leed") is VERY important. Don't waffle around and tell 'em how great a paper they have, or whatever. GET TO THE POINT, and make it interesting.

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April 20, 2007, 02:35 PM
Guys, this is from Nugent's CNN flipside to Plate's diatribe...

It's a damn fine example of an introductory lead...

Zero tolerance, huh? Gun-free zones, huh? Try this on for size: Columbine gun-free zone, New York City pizza shop gun-free zone, Luby's Cafeteria gun-free zone, Amish school in Pennsylvania gun-free zone and now Virginia Tech gun-free zone.

Anybody see what the evil Brady Campaign and other anti-gun cults have created? I personally have zero tolerance for evil and denial. And America had best wake up real fast that the brain-dead celebration of unarmed helplessness will get you killed every time, and I've about had enough of it.

It _is_ a little over the top (hey, that's Ted...), but it hooks you. Repetition works - ask any fire and brimstone minister...

April 23, 2007, 10:53 AM
Repetition works...

+1000. When I volunteered as a spokeswoman for a well-known gun-rights group I was sent to training at the Leadership Institute ( for how to do media interviews (Effective TV Techniques I and II if anyone cares). In any interview you have only a few minutes, and maybe just a few seconds, to make your point. You do not necessarily have to answer the interviewer's questions - especially if it's a live interview - you are on tv to get your point of view across to the public, and you need to repeat that point at least three times during the interview if you want the audience to remember it. Usually you want the public to remember a very short catch-phrase, e.g. "gun-free zones are victim zones".

This is why in a lot of debates and/or interviews you never see politicians answering the questions posed to them: they're using the camera face time as an unpaid advertisement to get their message out to the public.

Arctic Wolf
April 25, 2007, 11:03 AM
The pro-gun side seems to pride itself on reason and civility. Looking at some organizations that have made amazing progress (gay rights, immigrant rights, earth rights, etc.) they seem to have one thing in common, an, I'm here, I'm not going away and I won't compromise attitude.

Maybe we should follow Ted's lead and stop being so polite.

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