Bespoke training on lobbying and relationship building
CPRE bespoke training on lobbying and relationship building – Brief Outline CPRE has identified a training need that we don’t think can be met with courses currently available. We are looking to develop a package of bespoke training to help us with lobbying and relationship building. This training will be looking to deliver skills rather than knowledge, the latter is relatively straight forward and can be delivered if needed by ‘off the peg’ training providers on issues such as the passage of a bill or Brexit. Our need is to be better at building and maintaining relationships and lobbying to further our campaigning work both in Westminster and beyond. CPRE staff in the policy and campaigns team come from a wide range of backgrounds with differing experience and understanding of how and why to build relationships and how to lobby for change. This training should build confidence and skills as well as a shared understanding and approach of how to build relationships and lobby for change. What do we currently do well in relationships building and lobbying?
- Good, established links with key suspects and friends.
- Maintaining relationships longer term.
- Briefing ahead of debates etc. and conventional lobbying techniques.
- Consistency in arguments and reputation (strong evidence base).
What are our currently weaknesses in relationship building and lobbying?
- Not good at understanding what we can get out of a meeting with a stakeholder, can be too focused on telling them what we know and missing the ‘what we can do for each other’ bit of the meeting.
- Lack of empathy for the person we are meeting, where are they coming from politically, and what success looks like for them. We don’t ask ‘Want will they want to get out the meting?
- Focused on problems not presenting solutions
- Shy away from engaging with those we are likely to not agree with.
- Our approach can vary from too waffly to too technical
- The tone of our meetings; when to be positive and when and how to push back.
- Rely on the same tactics most of the time? Effective mostly, but predictable?
- Over reliance on national level. What can we do devolved/locally with/without branches.
What do you think the organisational skills need is?
- Skills and confidence that address the weaknesses outline above.
- Training that puts this into practice. Positive experience of training that involves role-plays or being filmed to put into practice learning,
Who would benefit from training?
- Initially 4 to 5 senior staff who have a range of experience and work backgrounds and a new Chief Executive who does not come from a strong lobbying background
- All in Campaigns & policy would benefit, even if experienced so could develop a training light version for the wider organisations
- If initially successful, we would look to roll the training out to our branch network.
Internal View The campaigns and policy team management group were asked what skills they thought would be useful, answers below: ‘How to maintain a poker face when in lobbying scenarios. I think I’m quite good at the tactics of lobbying and I understand what I should and shouldn’t do but, as I said, it’s just my face that betrays me sometimes.’ ‘Could do with some ‘soft’ coaching on dealing with politicians. I have been in meetings with some enthusiastic juniors (no longer with us) who have been somewhat more than up-front in ways that have raised eyebrows, if not heckles, around the table, and I have committed faux-pas myself (such as expressing my frustration with the government (lack of) response to our lobbying on the neighbourhood planning bill and pushing Nick Herbert to go further, when he was feeling that he’d already achieved a significant victory)’ ‘The skill is then knowing how to come up with lobbying strategies that make better use of these opportunities, and how we can develop these plans with input across teams.’ ‘I think some examples of how other organisations use parliamentary influences really, really effectively would be great.’