Friday, August 17, 2012

Writing to Influence Your Legislators

If you have a nail to hit, hit it on the head.
David Lambuth, Golden Book on Writing (1923)
August 17, 2012 -  I’ve been asked to co-host a webinar for doctors on how to write your legislators to  influence their decisions on health reform.
I have no magic formula to offer, but  these tips may  help:
One, pick a subject near and dear to the hearts of their constituents.  My favorites  are the accelerating  doctor shortage, lack of access to physicians,  Medicare gains or losses, and doctors abandoning private practice.
Two,  in your first sentence, state the problem in 20 words or less.
Three,  give a brief balanced summary of  positive and negative consequences of reform.
Four, offer your solution to the problem.
Five,  say it in 750 words or less.
Six,  be brief, direct, and practical.
Seven, be terse, for nothing is worse than verbal longevity.
Eight,  use short Anglo-Saxon words, avoid 3-syllable abstract terms,   go easy on the adjectives and adverbs.  write in active voice,  and average less than 15 words per sentence.
Nine, good luck.   Your political representative is a busy person.  Don’t waste his or her time by whining.  Be instrutive and constructive.
Tweet:  You doctors out there.  Write your political representative with your analysis of reform problems and your suggestions to resolve them.

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