10 Jan 2024
How can you communicate your message to a wider audience and inspire them to take action?
Identify your main aim. For example, are you trying to collect a certain number of names on a petition? How will your action bring you closer to this goal?
Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. If you’re doing a press stunt, will it look good on camera and capture the media’s attention? Staging the action in front of an iconic building – or somewhere relevant to your campaign – could make all the difference.
Think about where you might find sympathetic audiences. Are you collecting postcard signatures for a food-related issue? If so, can you run a stall at a farmers' market?
Find a visible spot where the flow of people isn’t too fast and furious – you’ll need space for passers-by to stop and talk to you.
If you want to engage new audiences, you could set up near your local mosque, church, youth or community centre.
Props, flags, costumes, masks, role plays, music... Throwing a pinch of creativity into your action plan can be great for turning heads and getting your action into the local media.
Communicating your message
Now you’ve got people’s attention, how do you get them to act?
That'll depend on who you're trying to reach and why. If you’re out and about, your audience is likely to be diverse.
Brainstorm ideas on how you could adapt your message for different audiences like students, parents, the elderly, cyclists and motorists. Find a local angle to help your message resonate in your community. Think of a snappy opening line to engage people in conversation.
Make sure you have something people can do or take away to follow up. For example, can you hand them a leaflet? Can they sign a petition? Can they leave you their details to join your group?
If you want to gather people's details, make sure to do so in a GDPR-compliant way. Find out more about GDPR.
Talk the talk
People’s perception of what you say will be based on the following:
- 7% verbal – the words you say.
- 38% vocal – what you sounded like when you said it.
- 55% visual – your body language while talking.
This means you don’t have to be word perfect or an expert on the issue.
Talk with conviction and open, confident body language. Be positive and friendly when approaching people. Listen to what people say and avoid lecturing – all good communication is 2-way.
Have an exit strategy in case you get stuck in a conversation that isn’t going anywhere. For example, "it's been interesting talking to you but my colleague needs help."
When it's all over
Pat yourselves on the back.
Campaigning can be tough, so make sure you celebrate the day’s achievements. Thank everyone who took part and make sure group members feel valued.
At your next meeting, discuss how the action went: what worked well and what you’d do differently next time.
Don’t forget to do your admin. Whatever your action, it’s bound to generate follow-up work. The sooner you chase press releases, get new people signed up to your email list or send postcards back to Friends of the Earth, the sooner you can sit back and relax after your hard work.