A Powerful Advocacy Tool
The most important tool you have as an advocate for cystic fibrosis is your own story. Learning how to tell your story clearly and concisely will make your message to elected officials even more powerful.
Remember: The average person will remember a story over a bunch of statistics any day. Policy-makers want to hear about meaningful work they can champion that will really benefit their constituents.
Make your story the focus of your meeting with elected officials. Connecting the story to the problem you are presenting and solution you need from them will make your requests more relevant and meaningful.
Many advocates find it most effective to tell their story just after they introduce themselves. By telling your story first, you can make sure your elected official knows what cystic fibrosis is and the impact it has on your family.
Tips for Creating Stories
When developing your story, keep the following tips in mind:
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- Speak plainly. It’s best to tell your story without medical terms, legal terms or abbreviations. It is also a good idea to avoid complicated policy language. Tell your story with clear, everyday words.
- Speak to the heart. Your story adds life to an otherwise dull policy debate. Evoking an emotional response in your audience helps tap into the common values and feelings that we all share.
- Point the way to a situation that’s improving. Your story should demonstrate how real people will benefit from the solution that you are advocating.
- Keep their interest. Include small but telling details that vividly and concisely paint a picture of what you are describing.
- Try to avoid relying on statistics, or issuing a ‘laundry list’ of data. If you do use statistics, always make sure they are accurate, timely and relevant to the story you are telling. Carefully selected, thoughtful statistics can go a long way in lending credibility to your story.
- Personalize your story. Naming the people and places in your story helps your elected officials recognize how policies affect the everyday lives of people with CF.