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What is Advocacy?

“Advocacy means persuading people who matter to care about your issue. It is about getting listened to, being at the table when decisions are made, being heard by people who make decisions. It is about facing and overcoming resistance. It is about speaking and writing in compelling ways that make decision makers want to adopt your ideas.”

John A. Daly

The above is from Mr. Daly’s book titled “Advocacy - Championing Ideas & Influencing Others.”

Following are some major concepts from Daly’s book that might be helpful to us as MOAA members pursuing our advocacy agendas:

Communicate Your Idea with Impact - The message needs to be clear and simple. People recall less than 15 percent of what they hear in recent conversations - and one-fourth of what they do recall is inaccurate.

Know What You Want People to Know - Define the problem and state the solutions plainly. Keep it simple.

Stay on Message with Repetition and Redundancy - The “Mere Exposure Effect” states that the more often people see an object, the more positive they feel about it. Also, the “Rule of Six” means that people need to see a message six times to have the message ingrained. Use repetition, saying the same thing again in the same way and redundancy, saying the same thing in a different way, to restate your objectives.

Use the Primacy-Recency Effect - by starting your message with big important news and finish your presentation with a bang. Do not ramble!

Advocate Face to Face - It is vitally important to have face to face exchanges with decision makers. It is far too easy to ignore an email or letter. A firm handshake and eye to eye contact will get the attention you desire.

Seek questions - Questions will help you, as the advocate, to assess if your messages have been clearly understood. Secondly, questions will help you grasp what the decision maker thinks is important. Third, questions generate more time discussing the idea. Fourth, questions generate an opportunity for you, as the advocate, to prove your competency. Finally, avoid getting defensive or responding angrily.

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