|Omar Ahmad (photo from ted.com)|
In the world where political change is often brought about by novel methods (as in the latest blackout and other online protests against SOPA and PIPA) it is useful to revisit the trusted old methods that work. Check out this inspiring short podcast by Omar Ahmad, the late entrepreneur and the mayor of the City of San Carlos. (I have previously shared it with some of my readers.)
Ahmad suggests that the best way to engage politicians is by writing them a letter by hand. Hand-written letters are more effective than emails or phone calls.
Ahmad suggests a four-paragraph format for writing an effective letter:
- Show your appreciation for the politician, or at least for the tough job politicians have to do.
- Say what is really on your mind. Never attack the person - if you have to attack, attack the tactic.
- Show them an exit strategy: "If you had the right information, you would have done the right thing".
- Offer the politician help, for example, offer to provide clear information on the issue in the future.
- Write about your pet issue often - at least once a month.
- Sign the letter showing any influence in a large sphere you may have (mention if you are a manager, a volunteer, etc).
- When writing to the US Congressmen and Senators, mail the original letter to the district office. Mail a copy to the main office. This increases the chances that your letter will be read.