Messaging Best Practices

We are constantly being coaxed into a certain way of thinking by messaging that various groups develop. It is important not to accidentally adopt the framing of your opponents without being aware of it. Instead, develop your messages based on your own framing that will not perpetuate their "spin".

The following 2x2 grid can be used to analyze the messages being used. You fill in each box with your primary message, and your opponents primary message. Then, what you say about their message, and what you predict they will say about your message. By thinking ahead, like playing chess, you can create a message that will not be subject to undermining by your opponents, while choosing a message that deflates their main message to nothing.

  What you say about... What they say about...
...your message (this is your primary message) (Your prediction of their response)
...their message (What you plan to say about their message) (Their primary message)

Let's take an example, the XL Pipeline proposed to carry tarsands oil from Canada to the gulf. This is only an example.

  What you say about... What they say about...
...your message Tarsands oil - Takes too much energy to convert, can't be cleaned up, does not benefit the US energy situation, and only provides very few jobs. Tarsands helps American's be energy independent and provides high-paying jobs.
...their message The XL Pipeline only benefits a few large multinational corporations, and makes us take all the risks. The XL Pipeline is good for the economy, provides jobs, and improves our energy independence.

When you use this technique, you will find that you will likely change your message and response based on what you think they might say about it. This is the whole purpose of this technique as it helps you to think through the result of your message so you don't skip the step of thinking of their likely response.
Topic revision: r1 - 2013-06-30, RaymondLutz
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