Elevator Arguments

Tonight, I gave my Elevator Arguments presentation to the Illinois State University chapter of SSDP. It’s always a lot of fun.
The idea is to develop the skill of being able to make an argument for drug policy reform quickly (in the time you might have riding with someone on an elevator). And not only that — but to target your argument to the interests of your audience.
Whenever I give this presentation, I start by letting the audience put me on the spot. They can yell out a description of a person, and I have to immediately give a short argument for why that person should support drug policy reform.
Tonight they hit me with:

  • Treatment Specialist
  • Conservative Parole Officer
  • Mother who lost a child to drug overdose
  • Tobacco Company Executive
  • Restaurant Owner

There were a couple of others, I believe. Then I have the group break up into small groups and create their own 30-second arguments (they get a little more time than I do to prepare) and then have one person come up and give the presentation.
If you’ve got a group (or just some friends), this is a fun thing to do, and it makes you better at speaking on the fly when an opportunity comes along.
Here’s a simple handout (pdf) that I pass out to provide some starting points.
If you’re interested in listening to the Elevator Arguments workshop that I helped present at the International Drug Policy Conference in December, you can listen to the entire workshop here (scroll down to Elevator Arguments). My part starts at 18:30 into it, and I do some of the on-the-spot arguments as well. (If anyone listens to it, let me know how it is — I can’t bear to listen to myself.)
On a separate note, the Illinois State University SSDP will be hosting the Midwest Regional conference in April. They will hold a Hempfest on the Quad on Friday April 18, and then the conference on Saturday, April 19 (to conclude on 4/20) If you attend a school in the midwest, consider organizing a group to come. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend any of the conference sessions (and I’ll have more information available here later). We have some good presenters lined up (but would love to hear suggestions for more).

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