Tips on Taking a Positive Approach to your Advocacy
Advocacy is most effective when you take a positive approach. No matter how powerful your arguments, if you deliver them in a combative manner your chances of influencing change will be greatly limited. Taking a positive or solutions-focused approach is a natural approach for occupational therapists who exercise such approaches in their day to day practice!
Here are some reasons why taking a positive approach can offer you the best chance of success:
In most cases, government officials and politicians want to hear from you. They are looking for knowledgeable and reliable partners who are close to the real problems of people (in this case, children) and they are willing to work on solutions. Often, they are interested in partnering with you to achieve common goals.
By taking a positive approach in your dealings with government and politicians, you are sending the signal that you are a partner in change. In many instances, the facts will speak for themselves and you won’t need to be critical or confrontational to get your message across.
Tact and diplomacy are greatly valued by policy makers and politicians, and they will value you as a resource for new information if you do not embarrass or scold them while delivering the information.
In general, harsh criticism is not received as well as constructive criticism. Understand that politicians and government officials will be more open to your point of view if you approach them with a measure of empathy for the challenges they face, and their point of view.