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Herding the Angry Cats into a Pride of Lions: Communication Strategy

In reading the comments posted to my blog, I try to figure out what some of the larger concerns of people trying to operate and participate in meetups seem to be.

If you are a leader (and you can either become a leader through the chance of starting a Meetup, or by simply expressing your desire to show leadership before a group), then you are going to face a substantial level of resistance from people who don't know what they are doing. The really interesting and challenging thing about this campaign is most of the people getting involved with this candidacy is that these are not political hacks. This is great because their enthusiasm is real, but it means they need to be trained.

Here in Pittsburgh, we went to cover the Washington County Fair (which has an estimated pass through of 80,000 people) and we needed people to man the booth. We went ahead and set up out materials professionally, and were ready to go, but having spoken to our members, I know many were very nervous because although they knew why they supported Ron Paul in some way, it was hard for them to articulate to others why they should care, or even more challengingly, be able to answer questions at point blank range.

Their concerns were entirely valid, and what we did was we had a series of workshops designed to help our members build confidence. In the first of these, we talked about how to respond. You can answer a question directly, express sympathy with the perceived point of view, and be open and honest. Ron Paul has a great message that is Constitutional, and if all else fails, you can fall back on that and ninety percent of the people will not find that objectionable. Obviously, some people simply will not agree, and you need to realize that.

To demonstrate, myself and a number of the assistant organizers stood up there and fielded questions from them. We encouraged them to batter us with the best they had, and as they did, and as we responded coherently to each question, they began to see and gain confidence that they could do the same.

The next time we got together, we turned the tables. We had a mock up of a booth made and we went and asked our members why they supported Ron Paul. We started with hard questions, in fact. Sometimes, they were taken aback, but as they learned to field these, and we made the questions easier, they began to see the worst wasn't so bad, and the best was actually easy. Most people want to hear our message and when people begin to realize that is easy to sell, it becomes so much easier.

Having this training, we went to the Fair and had a great success where we had enough people to cover the booth and draw hundreds of people onto a mailing list, create a spin-off satellite Meetup, and really impress and inform a number of people. Moreover, that very same confidence is infectious and now we have a core group of people that can go out there, train others in the group, and feel more at ease in reaching out to those they know.

The simplest way to put this is the best thing a meetup can accomplish is to get people talking. You start by having them talk with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. I say this at the beginning and end of each meeting. But, as they do this, and the questions posed to them makes them more aware, your people can become more able to do things.

Once you reach a certain point, you can do what we do here. We actually tell our members to go out, find the events, and our group doesn't plan for everything (it would be too hard, and an organizer who tries to do that will go insane, believe me) but rather responds to the request of our members for what we can do, judging the resources and amount of people needed, and choosing to focus ourselves on other events.

We actually can do some very large things as well, but what I am telling you is that it usually has a better impact (and you avoid the hairy problems of fundraising, which we can talk about in another post) to get to these local events, and build up your activist base. Even if it is just twenty or thirty people, that is more than enough.

Did you know that most of the really momentous historical revolutions usually began with a group well under a hundred people? They were focused, smart, and strategic. They looked where they could get the most attention, and though they often disagreed on many things, their leaders focused them enough to convince them to focus on the common cause (for us, getting Ron Paul elected) where they were able to succeed.

As a last piece of advice, the difference between success and failure is often belief. If our group is more successful than others, I think the difference could be that we actually believe we will win this. From myself, through my assistants, to each member, I can look each one straight in the eyes, and I tell them this: We are not here to simply make a statement. We are here to win, and we will do everything possible to see that happen. You need inspiration, and if you have that, you will get support. People joining these groups are supporters which is good. People getting things done are believers, and therein lies all the difference.

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the election gods

Unfortunately, the "election gods" as you put it, are corrupt. The most important thing that needs to happen is to get back to basics and a paper ballot.

Paper Ballots

Yes, right up at the top of the list coupled with a Ron Paul nomination. I believe what we need is a paper ballot system that gives the voter a copy as well (numbered). If there ever was a need for a recount, and there always is lately, the voters could send/fax their copies to a third party (non-bias) to validate the original count. People would be required to keep their receipts for x amount of time. A double check system just like our forefathers set up our government.....before it was hijacked!

Killing trees for that purpose would be worth it.

Bob W., Naples, FL

Bob W., Naples, FL

thanx again i`m hoping i`ll

thanx again i`m hoping i`ll get replaced in 2 days,,,if i dont, your posts are extremely helpful.(most people aren`t geurrillas like me!)

walter whitt

thanx again i`m hoping i`ll

thanx again i`m hoping i`ll get replaced in 2 days,,,if i dont, your posts are extremely helpful.(most people aren`t geurrillas like me!)

walter whitt

This is just terrific

For you to provide a workshop that prepares the Ron Paul supporters for questions in advance is a masterstroke. Every meetup group should follow your lead and have similar workshops.

This, of course, means homework for the people in the booth--boning up on what Dr. Paul's positions are on various subjects, but this can be fun. Hey, Flash Cards!

Of couse, not everyone has to be in the front lines. Those who are not comfortable speaking can do something else. Or to just say, others are more conversant with Dr. Paul's policies than I am. Nothing wrong with that.

You are right about belief also. This is ground-truth conviction and it is one of the qualities that sets Ron Paul supporters apart from the pack, and which fuels the dedication. This belief also manifests as a spirit of kindredness, that unites us in this worthy mission.

great idea

I like the workshop and role playing idea, will pass it on to our meetup

Does RP have a Chance to Win?

We all get that question. Well at my own first meet up, this question was directed at me with all sincerity.

I found myself saying this. "Yes, and here is why. I guess there are many reasons that Ron Paul can win. But let me share with you a story. I was in the 9th grade, everyone knew Kevin and Bobby and a girl named Jackie was the fastest in our school. But there were 8 lanes and the Coach wanted them filled. Everyone was afraid to choose another lane. Hundreds of us just stood there in our PE uniforms and no one wanted to step up. Then the Coach said who ever wins gets this soccer ball. So I jumped in, but nobody else did. Then they all laughed, and said you won't have a chance! You are going to loose to a girl. On your marks, Get Set, Go! And off we ran. Kevin slipped at the start, but was certainly fast enough to catch up but choose to argue with the coach to do a restart, Bobby who expected to win ran but also looked back to see if coach would restart the race, Jackie and I raced neck and neck and soon it was between us...and she won by a Stride. Or so I thought. The Coach and everyone ran down to us and the coach handed me the ball...saying that Jackie changed lanes and so was disqualified. And so, I got the soccer ball, I won. Everyone was amazed and pleased and thought it was the best entertainment they had ever seen. Kevin and Bobby continued arguing for a "rematch" but Coach said it would have to be next week. So there you have it, I beat Kevin and Bobby and Jackie, the three fastest kids in school. So, what about Ron Paul? I believe that the Race for the White House is a thousand times more complicated. Thus ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING could happen. Who knows what will happen? Hillary could suffer a stroke, a scandal about Fred Thompson could be big news next week, some billionare who has just "had it with the Federal government" could suddenly fund the Ron Paul campaign......In fact, just about ANYTHING could happen. So, I am here to make sure Ron Paul stays in the race, and we will leave it to the Election Gods to decide the final result."

That little story seemed to work. Make it yours.

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Unfortunately, the "election

Unfortunately, the "election gods" as you put it, are corrupt. The most important thing that needs to happen is to get back to basics and a paper ballot.

Stalin believed in Election Gods

The election Gods are what have taken this REPUBLIC and made it a mockery of truth and justice rendering our US constitution to a blurb for campaign advertisement.

Stalin believed in "Election Gods".

Now, Democracy isn't hip to allot of people. Some of them on the Ron Paul campaign, praying, like OBL who is no fan of democracy either.

Indeed if the only thing at stake was being laughed at or a soccer "ball", there's not much to lose, and as Ceasar knew very well, empires are won with "entertainment", His republic lasted longer than this one and it's soccer balls. Perhaps it was more entertaining?

My line for those who have no faith in Paul (including some of his recent hired hired) is, "Well, Ms Cleo, good to see you got a new look! Tell me more. Who's gonna win?"

A Metaphor

That's a great story. An excellent coach as well.

To have a little fun with it, I sort of imagine this Presidential Race as a beanbag race. The only problem is many of our opponents have a ton of lead weight in their sacks that is called their voting record.

If America votes their conscience, we win. It's crazy, but entirely true.