Unlock your political power

About
relational organizing

The most effective way to grow support for a cause or candidate is also the oldest way- supporters talking to people they know. Relating to people naturally by listening and sharing from your personal perspective. As simple as it sounds, in a campaign this can feel counter-intuitive. For a campaign, you may expect to be given a script and a list of names. Instead, it is you as a supporter creating the space for welcoming and connecting personally to your own list of people. This allows you to talk to people who may not traditionally be reached by a campaign. And the conversations bridge the surface divides and move past talking points to get people thinking and talking for themselves. The exchange can be short and natural, where you to plant the seed, or perhaps just till the soil, then revisit the topic in conversation later. The personal connection has a larger impact as well of getting people to care about politics and rebuilding the belief that a representative political system works for them.

Why do you care?

Sometimes even when we are passionate about a cause or candidate, we may not be able to articulate why in our own words. Take some time for self reflection on why you personally care. How does an issue affect you or a loved one? What are the values underneath that drive you? How does this cause or this candidate help your life? And why is now the time to act? This work can help solidify your commitment as well as help you articulate it to others. It is not about creating a script, it about giving yourself clarity and confidence to speak naturally about your personal story. This is not the campaign message or political theory. This is your life, and how politics walks into your home or life or body, and how you are empowering yourself to make politics work for you.

Sometimes even when we are passionate about a cause or candidate, we may not be able to articulate why in our own words. Take some time for self reflection on why you personally care. How does an issue affect you or a loved one? What are the values underneath that drive you? How does this cause or this candidate help your life? And why is now the time to act? This work can help solidify your commitment as well as help you articulate it to others. It is not about creating a script, it about giving yourself clarity and confidence to speak naturally about your personal story. This is not the campaign message or political theory. This is your life, and how politics walks into your home or life or body, and how you are empowering yourself to make politics work for you.

How do I break through to people I know?

Picture the last person you talked to, whoever they are and by whichever method you communicate with them. Imagine asking that person, “Do you know who you are voting for?” And no matter what that person says, you stay open and listen and then say, “Tell me more about that.” By not reacting and intentionally and actively listening you create the space in which they can now open up to you and you can make the connection.

The key is to start with the mindset of curiosity and empathy. Want to understand more than you want to be understood. Prepare yourself by setting your intention to listening. If able, write things down as they talk and do not use this time to prepare for rebuttal. Be curious, try to understand, and use words like “Oh” and “hummm” to show that you are listening as you allow them to finish what they are saying.

Ask questions to get them beyond talking points to use their own words to talk and think for themselves. “That’s interesting.” and  “explain to me more about that.” Or to start them talking ask “what is something you really care about.” Just like you dug down to find why you care. Help them do the same and help them move past the surface to what drives them underneath. In their story and values you will find understanding and be able to make a connection.

What do I say?

The most powerful way you can contribute to a campaign is to tell people your personal story. Vulnerability is the core of trust. And if you are able to share a personal story with someone it will build trust. People are most likely to listen and understand your cause or candidate when it you communicate your message through a personal story. Not everyone is able to be very vulnerable, and that is okay, share at a level you can.

When someone opens up and shares, respond with offering your personal story about why you care. Your story could be a very different topic from what they shared. The connection comes from you being authentic and personal. And make sure to directly tie it to the cause or campaign. This can be the tricky part, to continue to keep it personal while mentioning a campaign. Wording it so you remain the focus helps soften that shift: “I’m relieved with the election coming up that there’s a candidate who can help me out.”

Who do I talk to?

In a notebook or digitally, make a list of people you know. You may be surprised at how many people you know. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, people at your place of worship, a club, a hobby. Then make a plan to intentionally talk to each person. Speak to them however you normally speak to them, whether in person or via text or online. Only this time you are going to ask them “do you know who you are voting for?” or “what is an issue that is affecting you right now?” Push yourself to have that conversation. And then keep track of who you talked to and how they responded. Then make a plan to reach out to them again to continue the conversation.

How do I talk to people who do not agree with me? Or do not care?

It is hard to be vulnerable and listen to people’s opinions and story and then share your own. Often this is uncomfortable enough to cause you to hesitate. Even more so when you think you may encounter tension. First, this is new so be kind to yourself as you learn to use new muscles. Then stick to the basics. Listen and fight your instinct to defend. When someone pushes on you, their expectation is that you will push back. When you do not and meet them with empathy and curiosity, it creates the space for real conversation. Speak to your values and your personal story. Do not use facts, logic, or morals as those differ from person to person. It is a natural conversation. And always give yourself permission to walk away.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest