Tip Sheet: Know Your Audience

Date: September 11, 2017

Strategies for Opening Channels of Communication

When communicating with elected officials or stakeholders, it is important to understand their background and perspective: this will inevitably lead to a more productive conversation. This tip sheet provides strategies for identifying common ground with elected officials and key stakeholders and tips for opening up channels of communication.

Even if your organization cannot lobby, you can always communicate and educate, build an advocate for your cause, and have your organization seen as an information source. You can still add congress people to your email list, make use of earned media, publish public statements, etc. Developing resources, short one- to two-page fact sheets, and letters to the editor, can be very helpful. What constitutes “lobbying” can vary state to state, whereas federal guidelines are more straightforward. Running a public affairs campaign is always allowable and not considered lobbying.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Audience?

  • Identify common ground with elected officials by understanding their background and record.
  • Identify ideas for utilizing effective storytelling, compelling narratives, and relevant messengers to drive home a message.
  • Feel prepared to partake in constructive conversations with policy leaders who may not agree with you but are willing to hear your message.
  • Identify ways to amplify your message after meetings.
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Citation: Suggested Citation: Healthy Teen Network. (2017). Tip Sheet: Know your audience: Strategies for opening channels of communication. Baltimore: Author. Available from www.HealthyTeenNetwork.org/ esources/tip-sheet-know-your-audience/

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