Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Political Communication 101

Kung Fu Monkey: Ain't Redux:
"I'm not talking about 'being all things to all people,' or framing in order to trick people into agreeing with you. My point is simply this -- learning effective message control and disseminaton, or what in the olden days we called 'rhetoric' wasn't too low for Socrates, wasn't too low for Thomas Jefferson, and we should stop turning up our noses at it and calling it 'selling out.'

My point is not in how to fool rubes into agreeing with you. My point is that often, when communicating our ideas to other people, we do not stop and think of the best way to make clear that we already share the same ideas. I used to mention in passing about how Canada had single-payer health care. Always got a few 'socialism' catcalls from the audience. But as soon as I said 'It's wrong for you to lose your house if your kid gets cancer', you could feel the audience swing, sometimes burst into applause. For that group, at least, a little meme-seed had been planted. I could have gone on about bed/patient ratios and per capita expenses to my heart's content. But that wasn't relevant to my audience.

Learn to Say Ain't isn't about being something you're not, or all things to all people. (and if that's how you read it, you were really just looking for something to disagree with in order to reinforce your own beliefs. Sorry.) what Boats taught me back then is that we all have common ground, and if you want to communicate your idea clearly, you need to start with the common ground of your audience and then get them to meet you halfway. It's about boiling your idea down to what really matters. This is not about lying -- this is about telling the truth in a more effective manner."

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