Advocacy through objectivity

Aug 06

Written by LS2group

Written by Quinn Slaven

Whether you’re advocating on behalf of others or championing your own cause, objectivity is the key to successful communication. Passion and drive are invaluable motivators for any work, but you won’t win hearts and minds by forcing an idea on someone without understanding their perspective.

Below are three tips on how a public affairs (PA) professional can utilize objectivity to produce the best results.

  • It’s a process, not a product.

Objectivity isn’t about creating an unbiased project. The point of advocacy is to promote a perspective. Before any press releases are sent or any op-eds are penned, a public affairs professional must look at a task through an impartial lens.

Whom does the issue affect? What are others doing and saying about it? Could we be misunderstood?

Asking and answering questions like these with brutal honesty will give you and your team a better understanding of the task, and thus a better understanding of how to tackle it.

Maintaining an objective perspective, even while promoting one side, allows you to understand the scope of the issue.

  • Objectivity connects you to the audience.

Whether it’s a controversial issue or a lesser-known topic, it’s important to remember who your audience is and what they know.

You may understand the task backwards and forwards, like the back of your hand, but by remaining mindful of the audience’s understanding and attitude, you can better communicate your perspective.

The goal is to win over people who disagree with your stance or are undecided. You first need to know what’s on their mind before you can change it.

  • Be critical and fair.

PA professionals should be the harshest critics of their own work. If you can find a flaw in the project, it’s safe to assume the audience and potential opposition will find it too. Despite your personal feelings on the matter, focus on how it will appear to stakeholders and spectators.

Fairness brings a human component to objectivity. Taking all the hard facts and putting them into context ensures your planning is fair to the issue and the people involved. With that information, you can make a compelling argument.

Honest conversation and reflection must take place whether you’re managing a big account or a personal dispute. Despite your passion or resolve, everyone has his or her own perspective. Understanding each one will result in a sound, well-informed plan.

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