Special Session Communications

Most legislative sessions in Oregon last six months. The February special session started today and will be for just four weeks. If it seemed hard to get your point across in a regular legislative session, you need to sharpen your game for a 4-week special session. Here are some tips:

1. Practice message discipline. Make your point. Repeat it. Stick to it.

2. Keep oral conversations and written materials short. In writing, one page will do.

3. Make presentations graphically attractive. And short.

4. Advance work matters. If you haven't done it, don't bother.

5. As always, know your audience. Capitalize on your relationships.

6. Rely on coalitions. Positions that represent a group will have a better chance than those proposed individually.

A large amount of the focus of the February special session will be on the budget as Oregon continues to feel the effects of an economic downturn, which makes it ever more important to make your message short and to the point.

Lawmakers also will entertain a constitutional amendment that allows annual legislative sessions. If voters approve it, you will need to keep practicing short and sweet communications.