TED Talk: Handwritten Letters Really Work
I admit I've become kind of addicted to watching TED talks. TED is a great forum to introduce and discuss ideas that make life better and more fun. The basic idea is that people with a specific set of knowledge get to pitch an innovative idea that may shift the way you think about various aspects of our world.
Here's an interesting talk by Omar Ahmad, a city council member in San Carlos, CA, on why handwritten letters are more effective than other forms of constituent communication. This corroborates research done by the Congressional Management Foundation.
It's a six-minute talk, and I daresay it's entertaining as well as educational. Disclaimer: There's some brief, mild profanity. Not that you've ever heard anything like that before.
Some initial thoughts: I do think he may understate the importance of phone calls, especially when something urgent is happening such as a vote or a deadline for a "Dear Colleague" letter. And I also think he may overstate how difficult it is to get a face-to-face meeting with the right staffer. And some offices are better than others about processing and responding to email (though if you do send email, do yourself a favor and personalize it!).
But in terms of the effectiveness of handwritten letters, he's spot on.
Matt Newell-Ching is Bread's western regional organizer. He gives a hat tip to Bread's southeast field organizer Greg Sims for alerting him to Ahmad's talk.
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