Tips for Talking about Issues

Be Polite

The impression you make is as important as your message, when it comes to getting that message respected. Being polite and gracious will start you off on the right foot. Thank whomever you are speaking with for their time, consideration ,and any contributions they have made to the side of medical research (Did a representative vote in favor of funding NIH?).

Be Positive

Present your arguments in a positive light instead of attacking the opposition—attacking will only alienate potential allies. Furthermore, do not let yourself get angry or argumentative—that would make you look unprofessional or even desperate.

Be Factual

Be able to substantiate your arguments. It’s far better to spend the time double-checking your arguments for accuracy than to lose all credibility because facts were inaccurate.

Be Brief

Keep your points clear and to the point. Long, involved explanations may be technically more accurate but you will lose your audience in confusing details. Ask yourself “What do they really need know to understand the point?”

Have Depth and Breadth

Do not rely solely on statistics or solely on anecdotes. Statistics provide broad analysis but are dry and, when listed together, hard to remember. Anecdotes provide a personalization of information and are easier to remember, but are not enough to properly extrapolate to the general population. Mixing the two will provide a balance to drive home your point.


Remember to send thank you notes and follow-up information. This is not only courteous; it ensures people keep your conversation in mind.