Yes, I know. It's been a while, but I'm now back to blogging. New job, new role, new dog and new house will do it to you every time.
I have recently taken on an advocacy and outreach role as part of government relations and advocacy and loving the learning. Braille is a major component, and that is a good thing. I'll save that for another post. I've often been asked. What is advocacy anyway? Like what do you do? I've given this a lot of thought lately so will impart my musings here.
To be a successful advocate in my view, involves 3 key elements. Awareness, Education and Passion. This last one can be a double edged sword and can really get you off track if you're not careful. But you need all three parts to work together so the communication happens effectively.
Identify the goal
The more specific you are, the better it is. For instance, saying all buildings should be accessible doesn't provide information about what accessible means. That's where the education component comes in. What constitutes an accessible building, and how do we make it so. The questions can go on forever but I'm sure you get the picture.
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
Once you've identified what you are advocating for, crank up your awareness antenna. Look for examples and dive in to serious knowledge gathering on the issue. This is much easier now than in the past mainly due to online info and resources. In my travels out and about, I'll often encounter people saying, something should be done about this" or "I can see the problem." This is a good thing as it shows awareness on their part. You can now move in to education mode. If done well, it is a positive seamless learning experience on both sides. This is where the third element, Passion comes in.
It aids in communication and fosters understanding as all are on the same page toward the end goal. Passion needs to come after awareness and understanding have been established, because if you let passion run away with you there is a good chance you've lost your audience as they don't get what you are going on about. They need to learn about it first. Just stay focused on the prize and you'll be fine. Know what you are trying to achieve!
One last note about advocacy. Well, maybe two <grin>. Progress is usually made in small steps. And the second think everything is new. People, issues, roadblocks/barriers etc. This way you continue to be refreshed during the process while you are continuing to advocate and educate. I thought I'd give you a sampling of what projects I'm involved with right now.
Until next time which will be very soon, enjoy the summer weather and avoid the lightning and rain.