Category Archives: Featured Posts

Posts with featured image fro front page slide show

Deep Framing Workshop: How progressives can defeat disinformation and reclaim the public debate

I am in the process of converting this training to an online webinar format.
If you would like to be notified when the training becomes available,
please leave me a note here or subscribe to the newsletter!

About the Workshop:

Professional development workshop for political communications professionals and other progressive stakeholders

This transformative workshop won’t just tell you what to say, it will change how you think. You will get the tools you need to figure out for yourself what to say, every day, to wrestle control of the public debate back from your opposition.

The conservative movement has dominated the public debate. They effectively communicate a common set of values and beliefs and they are willing to use any psychological tactic that works to spread disinformation, sow fear and divide people.

Progressives need to understand how they do it so we can regain control. We need to learn effective reframing tactics and use them to promote the truth, inspire hope and bring people back together.

I worked for more than a year with George Lakoff, progressive messaging guru, renowned cognitive linguistics expert, and best-selling author of Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.

I also spent years gathering help from other experts across disciplines, from cognitive science and behavioral psychology to marketing and advertising, political history and moral philosophy.

My mission is to make all of this material accessible for busy professionals and activists by distilling it into just what you really need to know and showing you how to apply it in your day-to-day work.

We’re all tired of being beaten up in a game that we either don’t know we’re playing or where we don’t understand the rules.

If you go through this workshop, you will come out the other side feeling like you are in control, have a game plan and are ready to dominate the field.

Webinar 1. (45 min) How we can win the debate over a individual issues by changing the dominant frame in the conversation, including:

  • What frames are and how they work on a neurological level.
  • How frames influence thinking and judgment of right and wrong.
  • How putting debates into a different contexts effects moral judgment.
  • How frames influence perception of logical behavior, role assignment and rights, power dynamics and the establishment of goals.
  • How we use narratives to connect frames to situations.

Webinar 2. (45 min) How we can move the entire public debate (and the country) toward the Left by repeatedly using frames that illustrate our belief system, including:

  • How our country developed a political culture around two highly contrasting worldviews.
  • Who is persuadable and how they can be persuaded.
  • How language is used to influence the debate on a neurological level.
  • How language is being used against us.
  • Why agenda setting matters.
  • Why we need our own language.

Webinar 3. (60 min) How to articulate our progressive belief system and values. How to contrast them with conservative values.

  • The dominant narratives of conservative and progressive belief systems.
  • Core values that differentiate the two systems from each other.
  • Contested interpretations of core American values.
  • Contrasting visions of the relationship between society, government and our economic system.
  • How to articulate our beliefs in the proper role of government.
  • How to get people to understand and support our policy positions by placing them in the context of those beliefs.

Webinar 4. (90 min workshop) How to analyze the frames in the current public debate and develop our own deep framing strategy. Tools and tactics that can be used to change frames: how to recognize them, defend ourselves against them, and use them effectively ourselves.

Anatomy of a Message

MessageCloudDiagram

How do you develop a core message strategy? You need to figure out the one message you want to sink in over the course of the entire campaign. What is the relationship between that core message and the content you produce? Everything your campaign communicates and everything your supporters say have to illustrate and reinforce that one core message. 

Continue reading

It’s not about policy positions. Emotion moves swing voters.

We say, “Public Option.”   They say, “Death Panels.”
We say, “Government Programs.”   They say, “Socialism.”
We say, “Cap and Trade.”   They say, “Job Killing Energy Tax”.

They use emotions to connect with people and create negative feelings toward us. We use logic to try to convince people that we’re right. Obama gave people hope in 2008, but we failed miserably by trying to sell the Affordable Care Act as a list of poll tested policies instead of as a moral imperative. It took 10 years for people’s lived experience with “ObamaCare” to show them why it mattered. Continue reading

Learning from Lakoff

In 2011, I spent a semester at Berkeley studying cognitive linguistics with Professor Lakoff whose work I have admired since I read Moral politics in 1996. I was so convinced of the importance of his work that I returned in 2015 to spend a year working directly with George to develop a training program to help people put his work into practice. I am only now finishing this project, and the end result is the LeftWords training program you can learn more about here!

Quintessential George Lakoff at the Berkeley coffee shop. (BAP photos)

I had the privilege of working with the brilliant and delightful Professor George Lakoff at University of California, Berkeley. I went to study framing. I learned far more than I ever imagined about how our minds actually work.

These discoveries in cognitive science elevate Lakoff’s work on political framing from “good advice” to “critical truths we ignore at our own peril”. We have to understand the foundation of our competing moral systems if we are to succeed in reaching people and overturning the Right’s dominance over our public debate. Continue reading