Where to start?
It’s key that you understand the problem at hand, including statistics/data and the circumstances at play that are reinforcing the problem. When presenting your data, it is critical that you interpret the data for your audience.
Interpreting the data means that you explain it: what are these numbers telling us? Is the problem growing over time? Is the issue more prevalent in a particular community?
- This is the research phase. You should know your facts to provide a compelling argument for why this issue is indeed a problem.
- Remember that money talks, as do numbers. Cite reliable data to quantify how big/wide-spread the problem is.
- You need to know your cause.
When you are an advocate, your first step in making an impact is educating YOURSELF. Before you can change anyone’s mind, you need to fully understand the issue. You need to be prepared to answer people’s questions while also having a good enough understanding of the issue to be able to describe it clearly and quickly. Developing an “elevator pitch” for your cause is crucial: if you only had the time allotted to an elevator ride with someone, how would you describe your cause/issue? In public health and other research efforts, we often refer to the “elevator pitch” as our problem statement.