Messaging and Talking Points

Framing a Message

  • A message frame/box is the underlying structure of how we view the world or a particular issue or problem.
  • When we frame our message, we need to consider the views, values and concerns of our audience and why we need to communicate with them.
  • Framing isn’t about winning and losing on issues. It’s about winning and losing hearts and minds.

Key Phrases

  • Same old political attacks and power struggle
  • Political pay back to CEO donors
  • Politicians protecting CEOs and big business tax breaks instead of protecting and creating middle class jobs
  • Restore balance in politics and the economy
  • Defend the middle class
  • Protect our communities
  • Create quality jobs
  • Attacks on health and safety of citizens
  • We are the people.
  • Listen to the people—not the CEOs.
  • Where are the jobs?

Core Message

  • We are the people of Michigan and it’s time for our leaders to come together to stop the power struggles, focus on improving our economy and create quality jobs for working and middle class families.
  • Politicians are unfairly exploiting the economic crisis to attack seniors, students and workers. This will not create jobs nor stimulate the economy.
  • For some politicians, “shared sacrifice” means slashing the wages and benefits for working and middle class families who have already sacrificed. Politicians should require big business and CEOs to share in the sacrifice and move this state forward.
  •  It’s time to bring balance to this state. It’s time to start standing up for the middle class and start creating jobs. That’s what will save Michigan.

Talking Points

  • The top priority for Gov. Snyder and Republican leaders should be creating jobs. How many jobs have been created with the current attacks on Michigan’s middle class?
  • Gov. Snyder proposes slashing $564 million from education. We should be investing in our children’s education— not sacrificing their future. (Talk about your school district—How much is being cut per pupil? What will this to do programs and staff? How will this affect class size?)
  • Gov. Snyder and the Legislature are breaking their promise to K-12 students and their school districts by including funding for colleges and universities in the School Aid Fund. They have turned a surplus of money for education into a deficit.
  • If passed, Gov. Snyder’s budget will cut higher education by $220 million. This will make college unreachable for many students and limit their future success.
  • Gov. Snyder will be paying for his $1.8 billion tax cut for big business and CEOs by taxing the pensions of senior citizens and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families.

Messaging Tips

  • Messages are shaped by our experience. Be prepared to tell your story. How do these actions impact your students, your community, and your staff?
  • Consider what image or idea you want people to walk away with after you’ve spoken to them.
  • No T-shirt, button, flyer or picket sign takes the place of a one-on-one conversation with someone.
  • Don’t play in the opposition’s sandbox. When you use their words and phrases, you’re basically accepting their definition and their conclusions.
  • Stay on message. Repetition matters.
  • You don’t have to answer every question or refute every claim. Rely on your message for your answer.
  • Simply negating the other side’s message can reinforce them. Pivot back to your message instead.
  • Facts are not enough. They have to be connected to a message in order for them to make sense and move opinion.
  • Be positive and uplifting in tone.
  • Successful message delivery means knowing who your audience is and what they believe. Connect with what matters to them. It’s not about you.
  • At the end of your conversation with someone, give them an action to complete so they can spread your message to another audience and feel involved.
  • Keep it simple. Stick to three or four main points.
  • Don’t be defensive.
  • Don’t guess. If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say so. Follow up later with the information.
  • Keep yourself updated by tracking legislation on MEA’s website.