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Talk to your local media

Local media attention makes the world of difference, raising the public profile of the issue so that others in the community can hear an alternative opinion.

Government agencies and companies collect media mentions about them on a daily basis, including letters to the editor.

Beat the drum in your local area by writing a letter to the editor or calling talkback radio.

Here are a few easy tips.

CALLING TALKBACK RADIO

Tip 1: Prepare before calling
  • Jot down some key points - use them as a guide rather than memorising.
  • Have the numbers ready and follow the show for your cue to call.
  • When on hold, turn your radio off and listen to the program from the phone.
  • Remember why you're calling - to educate, question or convince.
Tip 2: Relax
  • Being on air can be both nerve-wracking and exciting, and you want to come across as calm and clear.
  • Take some deep breaths beforehand and remember to keep breathing.
  • Think about it like it's a conversation with a friend rather than an interview.
Tip 3: Be concise and clear
  • You'll have no more than 60 seconds so keep it brief. A quick, polite "Hello" will suffice and then move straight into it. Longer conversations allow talkback hosts to debate or argue with a caller.
  • Avoid jargon like the plague - use everyday language so that the listeners can relate to you.
  • Avoid using repetitive words such as "you know" and "like, and keep the "uhms" and "aahs" to a minimum.
Tip 4: Be constructive
  • Use compelling first-hand stories.
  • Present killer statistics.
  • Talk in pictures and use imagery for the listener, describing events, places, people and situations.
  • Give details (organisations, websites, phone numbers) that direct interested listeners to more information.
Tip 5: Talk to the audience, not the host
  • Remember that you're trying to convince the audience and not the host.
  • Consider who the audience might be based on the program and time of day. Are your listeners at home or at work? Are they families, teenagers or retirees?
Tip 6: Be calm, reasonable - avoid arguing and abuse
  • Talkback radio feeds on strong emotions and confrontation, so be prepared. While passion is great, anger comes off poorly on air no matter how right you are.
  • Talkshow hosts are professional arguers, so your chances of winning are slim and, ultimately, they can cut you off at any time.
  • If the host tries to switch topics on you, agree or disagree quickly, then return to your point.
  • Don't verbally abuse the presenter, politicians or previous callers.
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