The one night stand model for winning votes

Do you want to win

People are usually only interested in winning on their own terms.  There is a purity to this approach. If you win, you have won enough people over to your side, and you have likely converted them to your belief structure.


Reframing – Use Values

I learned a long time ago that a good technique is reframing.  Here are two good examples of reframing an issue from conservation (prospector territory) to public health (settler territory).
The Next Step
I have copied Greenpeace model for successful campaigns and use a combination of values and social network analysis.
If you are interested in values you should read and you can see your profile @
What Model do you use: Conversion or the One Night Stand Model?
I take this one step further, but only for the brave client who really wants to win.
You can win by saying what the client want others to believe – I call it conversion.
I am simple and find out what the client wants and see if it can be translated into something that will get the people making the decisions to support you. I call it the one night stand model. It is about mutual self-interest.
In the second option, you align mutual self-interest for a very short period of time to secure a political victory. They don’t have back your case for your reasons, you have to find out how to pitch your case to them in a way they co-opt it as their own, if only for one night (or the vital vote). They back you for their reasons. After that, you can go your own separate political way.
Ironically, I have learned that most progressives and companies are in the business of conversion.  Both sides prefer purity. I just know I am fallen.

If your lobbyist does not know Cialdini, walk away

There are a few books your lobbyist will have read. If they have not, my advice, turn around around and walk out the door.

Robert Cialdini, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion should be well thumbed on your lobbyist’s bookshelf.



Modelling the best 

Lobbyists jobs amounts to helping their clients influence policy and law makers.  I have seen clients and lobbyists inadvertently persuade policy and law makers to act against their interests. Cialdini offers up some tips and techniques so they act in your favour.

Maybe a NLP master modeler will get around to modelling the best lobbyists, campaigners and communicators. I guess there must be books on lawyers. Whoever does it, will have a bestseller.

In Pre-Suasion Cialdini identifies what savvy communicators do before delivering a message to get it accepted.



In his first book, Influence, Cialdini identified 6 ways to have your message accepted. He called them “weapons of influences”, namely:


  • Reciprocation


  • Commitment and Consistency


  • Social Proof


  • Liking


  • Authority


  • Scarcity


From this book, you learn the best way for someone to take up your case, involves getting a third party, a peer, who they respect, to put forward your case, or at least your mentioning as supporting your position.

Another, is the importance of commitment and consistency. Establishing and maintaining your credentials takes a lot of time and effort. Any deviation, or returning to negatively perceived type, has you returning to the start.



In Pre-Suasion, Cialdini mind bombs the reader again with powerful tips and techniques. The book is about how “communicators can elevate their success by knowing what to say or do just before an appeal.”

He observes that “highest achievers spend more time crafting what they did and said before making a request. Set about their mission as skilled gardeners who should know that even the finest seeds will not take root in stony soil or bare fullest fruit in poorly prepared ground.” This is where most effort should go, preparing the ground. Few people do.

Caldinin observes that “every profession thinks persuasion works differently in their field.” He disagrees and notes the “process of persuasion is governed by psychological laws, which means that similar procedures can produce similar results over a wide range of situations.”


Use the Media

Pre-focusing attention on the issue makes people more receptive to it. Raising the issue in the press before you raise the issue make people more receptive to it. I remember raising an issue with politicians and officials on an issue of public health and animal conservation. Their interest and appetite to act was zero. A steady stream of press attention, cumlulimiating in a Sunday Times story, had my phone on Monday morning ringing off the hook, and offers of help and action. Pre-focusing helps over-estimate the importance of the issue for observers. It is a vital instrument for any campaign.


Pre-suasion is not conversion

There is a challenge in using these techniques. The act of pre-suasion is about focusing on who you are trying to influence, it is not about you. You are looking to devise a scenario where that someone will support you. What makes them support you may not be the reasons why you want them to.  I have worked to bring attention to an issue to a very small and targeted group of politicians through the press and personal meetings that face the appearance that one issue was of singular importance to that small group of politicians. When a politician reads his name in their morning newspaper of choice, has his wife and friends raise the issue with him over dinner and at the weekend, they start to think this issue is of genuine importance. They start to become more receptive to your case.

Persuasion, at least in securing votes, is not about converting someone to your position, it is just getting them to support your position for that one vote.

A lot of people have a hard time with this. Making someone receptive to your position is about bringing them on board by pre-suading them with ideas that work for them, and not necessarily that work for you. All too often, campaigns, lobbyists and clients only want to win on their terms. Those who do that all too often just loose. I’ve never been in the business of conversion and will take the votes whenever I get them.

Publicity – using it

Skilled campaigners understand that a “communicator who can get an audience to focus on the key element of a key message preloaded with importance”. They work to set the agenda. The media help in this as they bring to peoples’ attention what to think about.

Caldinin points out how Hollywood celebrities crave publicity, even if it is not good publicity. He writes “publicity of any sort spares them worst of all fates because it brings them attention; raw attention anoints them with presumed importance.”

Don’t use this if you have a crap case

There are some health warnings to using these idea. Using these subtle tactics have limits.

First, “any practice that pulls attention to an idea will be successful only when the idea has merit.”

Second, “if the arguments and evidence supporting it are seen as meritless by an audience, the directed attention to the bad idea won’t make it any more persuasive.”

Third, “if anything, the tactic might well backfire”.

Europe’s Environmental Agenda – A Snap Shot for 2017

I realise that I have been working on EU environmental policy for 25 years. I am looking forward to the next 25. One thing has been constant.  Tracking what is being developed and planned has never been easy. There are some excellent commercial databases, I like EU Issue Tracker, that does the job for you.

You can track the current legislative agenda by looking at the European Parliament Environment Committee Work in Progress, Newsletter and cross referencing it with the Legislative Observatory. You can even watch the debates at your own pleasure.

The state of play in the Environment Council is less detailed – governments always seem shy or immune to transparency – but progress can be tracked.

What is Coming Out of the Pipeline

The challenge comes to track where new  Commission proposals are in the pipeline. The Better Regulation agenda has made an important move forward here. Delegated legislation is now scrutinised more before adoption than before, with around 50% being put online for public consultation before adoption.

In 2017 the Commission will post a forward planning tool online which will give people a greater opportunity to see what is being planned. It won’t stop initiatives being pushed in by political pressure. But, it should give a better idea of what the year ahead looks like.


MindMap snap shot

I have produced a mind map of the key links you can use for straight environmental policy (not chemicals, substance or climate issues), and what the policy and political pipeline for 2017 and ahead looks like.



So you want to be a lobbyist – book recommendations

I have been asked what books I’d recommend on lobbying and campaigning.

I am a bit stumped. To me lobbying is the art of political persuasion of politicians, regulators and those who influence them. I am a lobbyist. I have been a lobbyist for all sides, from NGOS, Foundations and industry.  The craft and skills are the same for whoever your client is or employer.

Lobbying amounts to effective political persuasion and political communication. I learned this craft from canvassing from an early age, working for politicians, running campaigns, passing laws for politicians and within the Commission. I personally think it takes about a 20 years apprenticeship.

I would recommend the following excellent books:


Political Campaigning 


On political campaigning I would recommend two excellent books:

Ed Rollins –  Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics

Chris Rose’s How to Campaign 


Persuasion and Communication

Persuasion happens by words, whether in the written or spoken form. Being good in both is ideal. Being a good listener though is the rarest and most vital quality.

These books will help you become better persuaders:

Mortimer Adler’s classic How to Speak, How to Listen

Robert Cialdini’s two Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Chris Rose’s What Makes People Tick

Learning Machine


You’ll spend a lot of time learning new subjects. You don’t, whatever your clients think, need to know the issue as well as they do. You need to know it as well as you will need to for the meeting with the politician or civil servant. Developing the skills to learn, often quickly, new information and being able to communicate it clearly and persuasively is vital.

Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book  provides excellent advice on how to digest and understand new information from books.


Know the Journey – Have the  right Guide Books

You really do need to know how laws and rules are adopted and passed where you are working. You’ll need to have a collection of well thumbed guides and primary texts by your desk and the core guides on the area of legislation you work on. If you are not comfortable with these core  core guide books, you’ll be walking blind going forward.