3 books to inform your advocacy communications

Have ever had a conversation with someone about a cause you care deeply about and suddenly thought “huh? You think that about this cause?”

As disheartening as it is, they’ve done you a favour – they’ve just highlighted to you how lot’s of people think about your cause, and perhaps even told you why it is that your cause hasn’t succeeded yet.

Here are 3 books to help you build the case for your cause in a way that will resonate with people.

Made to Stick

Made to Stick, by Chip Heath & Dan HeathFor change to have a hope of happening, the value at heart of your cause, or the behaviour you want people to take away from your work has to stay with them.

Whether it’s expressing your core ideal, or the specific action you want people to take, understanding why an idea is memorable and spreads can help you get that idea out to the world and keep it in their minds.

In their book Made to Stick, the Heath brothers dissect the ideas and stories that stay with us, from pervasive urban myths to great stories of our time to understand what makes an idea “stick”.

They break “sticky ideas” down into seven ingredients to use when crafting your message. Their website also has some great resources to put their recipe into action.

Don’t think of an elephant

Don't Think of an ElephantCould your messages be undermining your very cause? Could answering an objections to actually give strength to those objecting?

In Don’t Think of an Elephant, George Lakoff explores how the words we (or those we’re discussing with) choose can have potentially devastating effects on our long term goals and even on the organisations that share our goals.

Though the context of the discussion is American politics, it has some vital lessons for how our choice of language can strengthen or weaken the values at the very core of our causes.

Speaking of Earth

Speaking of EarthA compilation of historic speeches for our Earth, Speaking of Earth is a great reading to pair with Common Cause work. Alon Tal has compiled examples of compelling appeals to our intrinsic sense of justice, equity and harmony with nature to save our shared planet.

Many of the speeches come from unexpected places and people, providing not only a good education in communication, but insights into how protecting our environment has intersected with human rights, peace and justice.

What’s a book that’s informed the way you communicate or advocate? Share it in the comments.