Elements of Political Communication: General guidelines – Importance

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Stress the importance of your topic. Apply the issue broadly to reach as much of the audience as possible, but understand that simply stating "this is important" is not enough. Convince readers and listeners of the importance of your subject by putting the issue in their "back yard", especially when referring to local issues. Apply the issue on a personal level to the reader, not the writer. Exaggeration (though not to the extreme) may help your case. For partisan issues in which a consensus or compromise may be necessary, indirectly approach the topic to appeal to those who might typically be on the other side of the issue.

Review[edit | edit source]

Which of these sentences stresses the importance of a local topic most effectively?
A: Men and women on a city council must be pragmatic facilitators who must base their decisions on needs like water treatment centers, not misapplied ideological preferences.
B: Men and women on a city council are very important, and they must base their decisions on things that will affect us directly.
C: Men and women on a city council tell you where you will live, how you will live, and why you will live.
D: Men and women on a city council do lots of things, some of which may affect you.
Answer: A. The second and fourth choices state the importance of the issue, but they don't give the reader any specific idea as to why it is important. The third choice is a vague hyperbole. The first choice illustrates the importance of the local issue by giving at least two examples (albeit generic, in this case) that most readers should relate to. In this case, water management is an especially important and relatable issue that promises to become more prominent in the coming years.[2]

Which of these sentences stresses the importance of a international topic most effectively?
A: Our leader plans to disrupt the flow of aid to other countries, and this is horrible!
B: Our leader plans to rip apart the fabric of the international society we have tried so hard to sustain.
C: Our leader plans to reduce food aid by 35 percent, which will negatively affect the people who so badly need help across the world.
D: Our leader plans to dismantle our food aid programs for other countries, and I worry that the negative publicity from this act will only invigorate the groups that want to harm us.
Answer: D. Although a humanitarian appeal such as one in the third choice makes sense in some contexts, the approach used in the final example brings the focus back to the reader and illustrates how the issue will affect him or her. This appeal to selfishness, although lamentable, is more effective in a political context.

Notes[edit | edit source]

Fairness · Sound