- “Why do we need a regulation on smoke-free public places anyway?”
- “Won’t we lose lots of business and tax revenue if we don’t make some accommodation for smokers”
- “It’s an election year and I don’t want to be confrontational! So, how can I accommodate everyone”
- “What do smoke-free public places regulations in New York and elsewhere have to do with our situation”
These were only a few of the questions that role-playing “Governors” Alejandro Madrazo (Mexico), Sergei Frolov (Russia), Chai Kritiyapichatkul (Thailand) and Debby Sy (Philippines) threw at their role-playing constituents who were trying to make the case for a totally smoke-free public places regulation. During Thursday’s role play group exercise four sub-groups of participants were given 10 minutes each to “make the case for smoke-free environments” to their respective “Governors.” The exchanges between the presenters their Governor were both challenging and lively, and there were many lessons learned including:
- Ten minutes with the Governor is a significant opportunity.
- Meetings with the Governor are almost always controlled by the Governor, not by the participants. It is a mistake to pretend otherwise.
- The Governor may not always be interested in what we have to say. We need to learn as much as possible about what the Governor is really interested in before the meeting and prepare accordingly.
- Listening carefully to what the Governor is saying and letting that guide the direction of the conversation can be quite important. We need to be careful not to over-focus on “getting through” all of our presentation and miss other opportunities.
- Not everything can be resolved in 10 minutes. Creating and taking advantage of opportunities for follow-up are important.
- Timing is more important than time!
-Steve Tamplin, Institute for Global Tobacco Control
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