Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Question is Mightier than the Sword

I recently attended an anti-gun forum at the Adams Middle School hosted by the nice ladies of the Holliston Democrat Town Committee. They invited State Rep David Linsky to speak about his extreme legislation to curtail our Second Amendment Rights.  They were not expecting a repeat of what happen in Westford but that is what they got, as accounted by the local media and bloggers.  By all reasonable accounts it is evident that Linsky’s present attempt to keep law abiding citizens from protecting themselves with guns is meeting substantial resistance. 

At the event many good patriots got up to ask questions of the panel.  Most of them made a mistake common among salesmen; they talked too much.  Shakespeare reminds us that "Brevity is the soul of wit" and in this process, wit is the most essential tool, to winning our argument.  Because of that I want to make all of my brothers and sisters familiar with the “Elevator Pitch.”  In this context it is the ultimate weapon.

The elevator pitch originated sometime ago and is a quick and effective way of communicating the important parts of your business purpose and promise to a less than captive audience.  It is called an elevator pitch because it is an effective communication technique to use in a very short period of time, like an elevator ride.  It was so successful in our sound-bite driven society, that today the technique is used whenever important information is delivered to a less than engaged or even a resistant audience. 

Adopting this technique will result in better questions that are difficult to dodge or obfuscate.  The three parts of the “Elevator Pitch” are: Preparation, Message, and Delivery.

A relevant and air tight Message takes hard work.  You need to consider what you need to say and how it can be twisted or dodged, and then attempt to refine the message and question to avoid such pitfalls.  Also avoid having too much to say.  “Mr. Rep are you unaware that gun violence has gone up since legal private gun ownership has gone down?” is effective.  Although, “Mr. Rep I was at the frozen Chosin Reservoir defending our Constitution with a gun, are you unaware that the static you stated about gun violence is a lie and . . .” will only serve to confuse those listening and give far too much opportunity for the opponent to answer only the part they can answer.  Pick one message and stick to it. 

Confidence is key to effective Delivery of any message.  Without confidence, one can be overwhelmed when asked to speak in a public forum.  Knowing what one is going to say and knowing it will very likely accomplish a goal is what makes us confident in our convictions; a necessary element to quality communication.  If you practice together you can have a lot of impact.  Our goal should be to be as polished as this:

Preparation is what ties this all together.  Meet with like minded people and discuss the questions.  Let your fellow patriots deliver the other parts of the argument.  Which are open to interpretation?  Which can easily be dodged?  Which others are confusing or too open-ended to be effective?  Before you arrive at an event learn about who will be there. Have they made any mistakes that we should take advantage of?  I would have liked to ask the Attorney from Stop Handgun violence about his attempt at an illegal straw man purchase in NH in 2007. 

Finally, with a well researched question is in hand, and a refined delivery of that question prepared, this will be fun.  Knowing a question is so well crafted the answer can only be proof of the conclusion you wish to convey, confidence in saying it is a foregone conclusion.  Be prepared and the result will be well worth the effort.

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