3.1 Crafting Your Message

How does one go about crafting their individual story for maximum impact? It is important to understand the elements of building a powerful story. Practice over and over on your own following the guidelines listed below.

Make your message clear. Use these questions as a guide to forming your messages:

  • What is it you want the legislator or policy maker to do?
    • See if you can summarize it in just one sentence. Be as concrete and specific as possible.
  • How do you want them to do it?
    • Be clear and specific about what you think the appropriate course of action entails. This should follow your summary statement.
  • How does this issue relate to you?
    • What effect has this issue had on you personally and on your job as a wildlife professionally? Remember that the point of telling your story is to put a face on the issue and to educate the policy maker on the impact of the issue on your life and our public trust wildlife resources.
  • Are others affected by this issue? If so, how?
    • Describe how this issue impacts others who enjoy, rely upon, or are otherwise impacted by our wildlife resources.  Relate the issue back to the broader constituency, and explain how it will impact ecosystem services, the economy, private landowners, wildlife recreationalist, etc.
  • List the key points that the legislator must know to understand the issue and its impact.
    • Try to limit your key points to no more than three on any issue. Remember that your time and their interest are limited.
  • Why is the issue important to the legislator or to other constituents in his or her district?
    • Potential votes always make a difference. Look into these links to the issue:
      • This is an area of personal interest or the interest of a friend
      • The legislator serves on a legislative committee that would cover this issue
      • There is the possibility of getting positive press coverage
      • A large number of voters in his/her district are affected
  • How does the political affiliation of the decision maker influence their stance?
    • Remember to craft the key points of your message to the specific political ideologies of the individual.  Political parties have different priorities and perspectives – try to relate your issue back to those priorities for each party in order to give maximum impact to your message.


3.1 Crafting Your Message pdf