Archive for 'Underdog Influence'

“May I Help You?”

One technique for building relationships is to find ways to help the “big dog” you want to influence. Joel Ulland, who represents the Minnesota Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society before the Minnesota state legislature, built a relationship with an unlikely person of power long before he needed the relationship.

Ulland is a member of several coalitions for Minnesotans with disabilities. In the spring of 2005, Minnesota was reeling through three years of budget cuts. Ulland knew this meant tough times ...

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Invest in Political Careers

Chip Thayer, a well-known antismoking advocate and volunteer for the American Cancer Society in Massachusetts, turned heads with his advocacy success.

Thayer persuaded a conservative Republican state legislator to vote for a bill that would ban smoking in the workplace in 2004. In fact, state Senator Scott Brown had voted against the smoking ban when he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. That gave Thayer the tough challenge of asking Brown to change his vote, a request reserved for only ...

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Avoid the Issue

When they meet with the big dogs, smart underdogs don’t always talk about their causes. In July 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned a 10-year cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases (also known as “pain-and-suffering” awards). The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) began an intensive lobbying and grassroots campaign to get the cap restored.

Brad Neet, the chief operating officer of St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, identified not one but two state lawmakers on record against WHA’s position: ...

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Befriend the Gatekeeper

So how do you start to build a relationship with someone you actively oppose? First, you have to get out and about. Many sincere grassroots influencers want to remain comfortable. That’s a problem, because you can’t build the kind of relationships that powerful people require from behind your computer. They want to see you in person.

Bob Bonifas, an Aurora, Illinois, owner of an alarm and locksmith company, has been involved in politics for 20 years. As a member of the ...

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