Session Descriptions


Lessons in Influence from Washington, DC
Based on “The Influence Game: 50 Insider Tactics from the Washington, D.C. Lobbying World that will get you to Yes,” June 2012, Wiley Publishing

Every day and in every way we all find ourselves playing the influence game. Whether you’re reaching out to employees, members, board members or policymakers, wouldn’t it be great to know how to get them on board – or, at a minimum, to listen to what you’re saying?

In fact, you can achieve this goal and more if you know the 8 critical keys to influencing others. Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, spent years learning these techniques as a lobbyist and Congressional aide in the most powerful city on the planet — Washington, DC. Thousands of people have used her techniques to win the political influence battle. In this interactive and informative session she applies these lessons to the persuasion circumstances faced by the rest of us – from sales to fundraising to board and office politics.

Through this presentation, participants will learn why true, authentic passion for your point of view is essential to your success, how to identify and enlist the right partners, how to develop compelling messages and more. We’ll also discuss the one thing that ALWAYS works in persuasion practices (shh… it’s a secret). This is a must-attend session for anyone seeking that extra edge in getting your message across.

Government Isn’t Broken: How to Work the System and Beat the Odds

Given the fact that Congress passes more bills to rename post offices and federal buildings than it does to address substantive policy issues, it’s no wonder that people think government is broken. Think all the partisan bickering and in-fighting points to a system badly in need of repair? The truth of the matter is that government isn’t broken. In fact, it was designed to be completely and totally ineffective. What you need to know is how to work our really bizarre democracy so that you can beat the odds: unless, of course, you WANT to rename a post office. In this insightful and witty presentation, Stephanie shows audiences the factors that influence elected officials, how to talk so legislators will listen and why government is so darned inefficient.

Hello Congressman, This is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Take Your Representative from Information to Action

So you’ve traveled all the way from wherever you’re from to the Capitol, and now you want to talk to someone who represents you. Hey, you’ve seen “Mr. Smith goes to Washington: you know how this is supposed to work. Well, not exactly. Every elected official represents thousands of people, dealing with hundreds of requests per day. It’s no wonder that it feels like they’re on automatic pilot when talking to you about your important policy issues. And they never seem to DO anything. Break that cycle with the Advocacy Guru’s secrets for shaking that “deer caught in headlights” look off an elected official’s face and inspiring him or her to actually take action – instead of hitting the snooze button.

Listen Up, Legislators!

With the hectic pace on Capitol Hill, sometimes it’s all you can do to just get legislators to pay attention. Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, shares her secrets for effective communication with elected officials, including knowing what you want, who to ask, how to ask and how to follow-up. Her role-playing exercises will have them rolling in the aisles, and recognizing that meeting with elected officials can be fun! She’ll tell you the top ten things elected officials and staff hate to hear as well as the number one tool in the effective advocate’s arsenal (shh.., it’s a secret). Stephanie gets to the heart of the matter with wit and wisdom: if you want your advocates to know how to deliver a message to an elected official, this is the session for you!

How I Learned to Love the Legislative Process and Use it to My Advantage

Many of us probably learned about the legislative process from Schoolhouse Rock and, you know what? It’s not that far off! More advanced advocates might find it useful to know how legislation moves through the process, from bill drafting and introduction to the Presidential signature / veto process. And if you’re looking for money from government, you should know something about the Budget and Appropriations process, right?

Win Your Policy Issue Without Moving from Your Couch

The Internet isn’t just for techno-geeks any more! There are hundreds of effective ways to use the Internet for web-based advocacy efforts – and most of them are free! Through years of valuable resources available for free over the Internet, as well as how to use these resources most effectively. Resources discussed include: learning about policy issues, locating elected officials on the net, effective methods for delivering the message and much more!


Advocacy 101

In this informative and interactive webinar, Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, will outline a process for effective advocacy that works on any issue and with any audience.  She’ll share her secrets for effective advocacy, including knowing what you want, who to ask, how to ask and how to follow-up. We’ll also discuss how to build a long term relationship with decision makers so that you can turn your policy dreams into reality.  And you’ll learn the top ten things you should NOT say, as well as the number one tool in the effective advocate’s arsenal (shh.., it’s a secret). Participants will come away with a plan for activism that will serve them throughout the year – and beyond.

What to Know Before You Go

You have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in Washington, DC, we just need to know how! To be most effective, join this “what to know before you go” webinar.  We will review the five specific things you can do to ensure your legislators and their staff listen up and take notice.  We’ll also go over the most important things to know about your legislators, the logistics of a Capitol Hill meeting and how to develop a winning message, especially with new members of Congress.  If you’re wondering what you can do to get the most out of your experience, this is the session for you.

Getting to Know Your Legislators

Believe it or not, constituents are some of the most important people an elected official hears from every day.  Your voice can make a difference, but only if you are effective in how you develop and deliver your message.  One of the most important first steps in that process is to understand your audience, which is why getting to know your legislators is so critically important.  In this session we’ll show you the tools and resources you need to figure out who represents you, where they stand on you issues and what policy issues interest them most.  This information will be essential to your success in being heard — and perhaps even agreed with.

Making the Election Connection (for non-profit leaders, engagement focused)

The campaign season is in full swing and it’s time to think about making a difference at the polls.  Believe it or not, _____ leaders can legally and ethically encourage engagement in the elections. In this session we’ll look at 10 specific steps____ leaders can take to mobilize supporters, including voter registration drives, learning about candidates, attending and hosting forums and working the polls.   We’ll also provide details on what non-profit staff, boards and volunteers are allowed to do under existing rules. Now is the time to capture the increased interest in the political process to promote civic participation and enhance your presence. Attend this session to learn how to be involved!