Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Event Blogging: "Communication Essentials for Social Conservatives" by Joseph Ben-Ami

One thing that socons need to do is to put a smile on our faces and not take ourselves too seriously.
Great communicators are not born. Churchill had a lisp but that improved over time. We can all become, and we must all become, at least good, if not great communicators. We are all ambassadors.

The first rule of communication is that you won't change anyone's mind if you don't talk about issues. How many times are we told that “You can't talk about that”. In politics people say “Don't talk about that before you get elected.”. However you do have to get re-elected. Another one is “Wait until we have a majority before we talk about this”. The problem is that people become accustomed to what they are doing and it is very hard to do an about face after a few years when you do get your majority. It is also not honest, it makes us really have a hidden agenda. Democracy is meaningless without a competition of ideas. We need to have an agenda of our own, not just be “not liberals“. Unless we are branding ourselves we will be branded by our opponents.

Point Number Two : For Conservatives to win, they have to run as conservatives. In 1995 the Mike Harris government won two governments. They won on a strong conservative platform. Then they got re-elected because they did what they said they were going to do. After that the Red Tory centralists ran and lost. This is oversimplifying but it makes the point. On the national and international stage, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan won massive support as real conservatives. Yes Conservatives sometimes lose, but not as often as they do as centralists.

If you want to be a spokesperson for the issue that you are passionate about you need to study, and learn the art and science of speaking.

Everyone has heard that appearance isn't everything, but in communication it is almost everything. The colour of the backdrop, the clothing you wear, the lighting, those are the things that make a speech memorable. The most important thing is presentation.

The next one is auditory, the quality of the sound, how you say what you say. You use positive words not negative ones. Daycare v. Childcare, always call it daycare if you are against it. Euthanasia v. Right to Die.

These are the three most important things to do if you are going to be speaking.

Know the subject, never get caught out. If you do get asked a question you don't know, say I don't know, don't mumble.

Know your audience. What is the age, wealth, political leaning of your target group?

Know what you want to say and say what you want to say. Only make three or four points. People won't remember more. Rehearse your lines. Don't let the interviewer take control of the interview. Never fill dead air, when there is silence don't just talk to talk.

Always anticipate the opponents' questions.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.

Bypassing the mainstream media. Use the internet well. Give out CDs. Get creative, do charity drives.

There is a bias in the mainstream media but they are your friend. They have a very important status in society so you will have to work with them. Be clever and try to get past their biases but don't fight them. You will never win a war with the mainstream media, so don't try. Most journalists do try to overcome their biases. We also have friends in the media. There are people biased in our favour.

Q: Can you run as a conservative in the Conservative party?
A: You live in a free country with a lot of opinions. You do have more freedom outside of the party. I believe that you will see more assertiveness in the future because you can play the game even within the Conservative party. Politics does not reward loyalty it rewards disloyalty. Pushing the envelope can work you should try to find a balance.

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