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Persuasion

'Political Writing: A Guide to the Essentials'

Johanna Martinsson's picture

Now and then we discuss specific communication techniques on People, Spaces, Deliberation that are essential to bringing about change, and in particular, governance reform.  CommGAP also produced a series of technical briefs that demonstrate the theoretical underpinnings of communication concepts and tools, including topics such as change management, negotiation, and persuasion. It was therefore a great pleasure when a newly published book entitled Political Writing by Adam Garfinkle was brought to our attention.  As Garfinkle points out, political writing is about persuasion. It’s about persuading ideas and policies.

Garfinkle is the founding editor of The American Interest and a former speech writer for two U.S. Secretaries of State, namely, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. His latest book, Political Writing, is based on a course he taught to interns working in politics in Washington, DC. It’s a short and practical how-to guide that introduces the essential skills and rules in how to become a better writer and it covers different forms of political writing, including: the essay; the review; the op-ed; speech-writing, letters, toasts and ceremonials; memoranda; commission reports; and blogs.  In addition to rules, each chapter also includes recommended reading and exercises. The book also covers the fundamentals of rhetoric and polemic, and gives us a history lesson of persuasion and language, dating back to the Greek agora. It ends with a philosophy of editing.

Leading Public Opinion: The Challenge of Persuasion at Mass Scale

Antonio Lambino's picture

In yesterday’s OP-ED page of The New York Times, Thomas Friedman suggests characteristics of what non-extremist factions of the American polity want in a leader.  I was struck by the high levels of communication capacity these criteria demand.  According to Friedman, the following are among the required traits of desired leadership:  1) the ability to persuade constituents and 2) the ability to lead, not merely read, public opinion.  Not only do these two things require expertise, they are inextricably linked.

Introducing our Technical Briefs

Sina Odugbemi's picture

As many readers will know, CommGAP has developed a couple of training courses. We now run these courses in partnership with the World Bank Institute. A few years ago, we began to commission technical briefs on various aspects of communication and governance for use in the training courses. They are quick, hopefully accessible introductions to various key topics in communication, especially political communication. Each brief was written by an expert in the field although we have not attached the names of the writers, these being our corporate products. We have decided to share these briefs more broadly. Please feel free use them as appropriate. We would appreciate comments on them as well.

(Development) Communication: The Lubricant for Running the Development Engine Smoothly

Paolo Mefalopulos's picture

The third of the ten key issues about development communication is a crucial one and it asserts that there is a significant difference between development communication and other types of communication. What is the difference and why is important? Let us start by defining communication’s most renowned function; i.e.

If Force and Incentives Fail...Then What?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

As one observes the practice of policy in many contexts - including policy responses to the current global financial crisis - it is amazing to see how many expert advisers still see policy making and policy execution as a matter of command or the crude manipulation of incentives. Force relies on the coercive powers of the state: if you want citizens or groups of them to do something simply insist on compliance, and deploy the full apparatus of state power. Failing that, you manipulate incentives, especially financial incentives and citizens will fall in line. Expert systems are comfortable with either approach because each is something they understand and can easily deploy. And, to be fair, you can make and introduce policies by using force or manipulating incentives. Then you wait and see how far those approaches take you. But there is one big lesson coming out of policy studies: force and the manipulation of incentives can only take you so far.