Excerpt from Keynote at Progress 2017
Host of the Brave New Words podcast and Principal of ASO Communications, Anat Shenker-Osorio examines why certain messages falter where others deliver. She has led research for new messaging on issues ranging from freedom to join together in union to clean energy and from immigrant rights to reforming criminal justice. Anat's original approach through priming experiments, task-based testing and online dial surveys has led to progressive electoral and policy victories across the globe.
Anat delivers her findings packed in snark at venues such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Centre for Australian Progress, Irish Migrant Centre, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and LUSH International.
Her writing and research is profiled in The Atlantic, Boston Globe, Salon, The Guardian and Grist among others.
Conventional wisdom says to meet people where they are. But, on most issues, where they are is unacceptable. Applying tools from cognition and linguistics, we uncover where people are capable of going and how to use our words, images and stories to move them.
Progressive messages often lead with "no" and "don't." We rely on fear and anger -- reactive emotions. To sustain long-term movements, we must shift from cataloging what we're resisting to painting a desirable portrait of the world we seek.
If your words don't spread, by definition, they don't work. To break a signal through the incessant political noise requires constant repetition. That's why our messages must persuade the middle while also energizing the base.