Workshop Topics

Having lived the life of a Congressional staff person and lobbyist, Stephanie knows how difficult it is to get elected officials to pay attention to your policy issues – much less get them to do anything about them. That’s why associations and businesses around the country and around the world have asked Stephanie, the “Advocacy Guru,” how they can “work the system and beat the odds” when it comes to dealing with government.

Stephanie always tells it like it is: with humor, flair and a charming “down-to-earth” attitude that is sure to win your audience over. Her most frequent compliment? “Hey, I wasn’t bored at all.” How many speakers on “effective advocacy” can say that? But don’t believe us: believe those who’ve seen her before (click here for a complete set of testimonials).

Each of these topics can be customized to meet the needs of your organization. We also offer day-long training sessions which combine elements of these training sessions for a comprehensive, personalized, and integrated learning experience. (Click here for keynote speeches. Any workshop topic can be made into a keynote presentation as well.)

Here are some of the Advocacy Guru’s most requested breakout sessions and workshops:

Authenticty Sells: Lessons in Influence from Washington, DC

Every day and in every way we all find ourselves playing the persuasion 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.

Breaking the Rules of Engagement

Effective advocacy is less about how many people you can get to sign a petition and more about personal, thoughtful and relevant communications. In other words, you need to engage elected officials in your cause. Fortunately, the vast array of web 2.0 materials make this easier than ever. In this session, attendees will learn new was to achieve membership participation in grassroots and government relations campaigns that can be both fun and free! We’ll talk about maximizing the effectiveness of blogs, RRS feeds, text, twitter, and widgets as well as how to get members talking through YouTube, file sharing, wikis, social networks, flickr, and more! If you want to use fun, free onling tools to break the rules of engagement without breaking the bank, this is the session for you.

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!

Don’t Let Democracy Get You Down! (Or, How to Win When You Lose)

With the hectic pace in an elected official’s office, sometimes it’s all you can do just to get someone to pay attention. And then, just when you think you’re making progress, the issue you’re working on gets tossed aside, never to be looked at again. Well, don’t let democracy get you down! Stephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru, will share her secrets for winning with government, even if you lose. You’ll discover how to redefine victory in a way that accounts for all of the challenges in our country’s convoluted legislative system and how to keep those around you motivated and inspired, too.

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!

(Virtual) Field Trip to the (Virtual) Floor

OK, so it’s not a trip to an actual Congressional session (which is actually pretty boring when in comes down to it). However, in this highly interactive and often downright crazy session, participants feel like they are experiencing a virtual Congressional debate. Up to 10 people play debaters, while the remaining individuals play other roles, such as strong supporter, strongly opposed, or undecided. During the course of the debate, updates are added, including number of constituents writing in, major reports coming out, and news stories. At the end, the participants vote on the issue. If you want your advocates to learn what really goes on behind the scenes, this is the session for you!