The Fortune “Power 25” Influence Inventory The Persuasion Tactics that Change Legislators’ Minds

Background

The government relations profession is based on influence. It’s the bread and butter of our business. However, too many of us are looking for the “silver bullet” influence solution, rather than taking a methodological, strategic approach to internal and external influence challenges.

So, are there influence tactics and strategies that you can use with elected officials to create a predictable result? This is the question that Amy Showalter and Dr. Kelton Rhoads sought to answer through an exclusive research project.

Consider how advocates usually determine which grassroots persuasion tactics are successful: when a group wins a high-profile campaign, success is often attributed to a few salient strategies and tactics, often overlooking the influence context or the influence target that helped those tactics succeed. We tend to attribute success to one or a few elements within a successful campaign, when in fact successful campaigns are the interaction of many things working in concert. There simply is no “easy button” to push.

They asked organization representatives how they influenced undecided legislators, since that is where true influence skills become apparent.

The Congressional Management Foundation’s Kathy Goldschmidt called the research results “fascinating and useful.”

This report includes Amy’s checklist for implementing the disciplines needed to raise your influence IQ.

The research results include numerous insights, including:

  • According to the data, which type of legislator is the least persuadable
  • The #1 factor that determines whether a legislator will consider your position
  • Whether lobbyists are still relevant, and how they compare to other influence tactics
  • Whether PAC contributions matter to elected officials, and if so, how they rank compared to other persuasion options
  • Which types of grassroots constituents are most influential
  • Which method of communication is most influential
  • Which grassroots tactics are most successful, and which are a waste of time
  • The #1 way to get a legislator to co-sponsor your legislation
  • The best way to get a legislator to lobby his or her colleagues on your behalf
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“To have real data to back up and debunk common lobbying techniques is fascinating and invaluable. We can stop wasting our time on what doesn’t work.”–Cassi Baker, Vice President, State Government Affairs, Cardinal Health

“This provides a more scientific approach that helps our strategic planning. It allows us to better understand our weaknesses and improve our opportunities for influence success.”–Jim McCabe, Government Relations Manager, Allstate Insurance

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