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Move Our Message: How to Get America's Ear

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About Move Our Message: How to Get America's Ear 

There are Three Items on this page. Please scroll down to see them.

- What People Say About Move Our Message: How to Get America's Ear

- What's on the Back Cover and in the Table of Contents

- Two Longer Reviews

What People Say About Move Our Message: How to Get America's Ear:

Move Our Message is the framing/messaging handbook for organizers. This book will help you  write and speak Americanese to those audiences you want to reach. Try it, you'll love it. I use its ideas when I speak to audiences who have just watched my film.

--Donald Goldmacher, MD, Producer, www.Heist-themovie.

Congratulations on the book. I did pick up a copy, and I think it's a great resource.

--Patrick Reinsborough, Co-Director, smartMeme/Center for Story-Based Strategy


I found your book very, very interesting. 

--Jim Cason, Associate Executive Secretary for Campaigns, FCNL [Friends Committee on National Legislation], (Washington, D.C.)


Worth re-reading! 
I was at a MoveOn Council meeting last Sunday, and both of the members who had been at Susan’s American Framing workshop in Dublin, CA brought their copies of Move Our Message  to hold up and tell people how valuable it was. One of them said he was about to start reading it for the second time.  

--Cilla Raughley, Regional MoveOn Council Leader (Palo Alto, CA) 


This book teaches speaking to the heart. 
Susan Strong's new book Move Our Message:  How to Get America's Ear is filled with information to help you get your point across effectively.  Although rooted in scientific knowledge about human communication, the book follows its own principles by not belaboring the reader with pages of dry verbiage. Instead, the book gives brief and clear explanations and examples--lists--of words that work and why.  This book will be valuable to anyone who wants to write effective letters to the editor or messages to elected officials or to give pithy presentations in public meetings.  It can help you learn how to speak to the listener’s heart, which is the surest way to get through to your audience. With this kind of guidance, we progressives and liberals can get over our old habit of avoiding the very thing that works best.

--Judy Bertelsen, M.D., Activist, (Berkeley, CA) 


'I'm learning a lot from your book.'

--Phoebe Sorgen, Activist Leader and Political Candidate, (Berkeley, CA)


This book is a Must Read! With today's world situation teetering on the edge chaos we need all the help we can get.This is such an important book, that it should be read by every high school, college student and anyone interested in finding some REAL solutions. Insightful, practical, thoughtful, and doable. I can't recommend this one enough! Thanks, Ms. Strong. 

 --Ann Riley, Activist, (El Cerrito, CA United States)  


Every progressive should read this book! It’s a primer for getting the message out and fighting the force-fed fear environment we live in. Progressives need this book to recapture the message from the Republican owned media. A good read.

--Lou Kent, (East Bay, CA, U.S.)


Help is on the way! We liberals and progressives need real guidance about how to fight back against those who hijack our way of life with deceptive language. We deserve concrete, practical help with finding language that tells the truth and works too. This book provides all of that and more; I felt very empowered and encouraged by Move Our Message!

--Dale Zola, Activist, (Oakland,CA) 

Practical advice on progressive messaging! This book is awesome for progressives who want to implement the views of George Lakoff (the Don't Think of an Elephant guy.) It contains concrete metaphors related to today's issues. The author also talks about the importance of speaking American, meaning invoking cherished American stories about who we are as a people. Our country is drowning in propaganda, and progressives need to use language to espouse our truths and values. This book is an important tool.  

--Eloise Hamann, Ph.D., Activist, (Dublin, CA) 


What's on the Back Cover and in the Table of Contents:


Politics/Current Affairs

Make Change Happen!

Move Our Message: How to Get America’s Ear is
packed with practical guidance on:

• “Speaking American” about your issue

• Connecting deeply with your audience

• Framing political messages that spread

“The Metaphor Project has been a terrific resource for us!”—Richard Reid, CityWatch Activist, Salem, Oregon

“We will be working with your model as we address national and local issues here.”—Melissa De Haan, Instructor, Colorado Mountain College

“I so appreciate your insights on language.”—Andres Edwards, Author, Thriving Beyond Sustainability.

“Thanks for your always useful pointers.” ---Michael
Nagler, Author, The Search for a Nonviolent Future

Susan C. Strong, Ph.D., founder of The Metaphor Project, has been helping progressive and liberal activists mainstream their messages since 1997.

Published by The Metaphor Project





CHAPTER 1: Why American Framing Gets America’s Ear

CHAPTER 2: American Stories You Can Use

CHAPTER 3: More Answers for Critics, Rebels, and the Confused

CHAPTER 4: Some Mighty Metaphors and How They Happened



CHAPTER 5: On Framing American Politics

                 Countering the Right’s “American” Con
                 Cards on the Table!
                 American “Truth Bites”
                 The Story That Works
                 Our One Big Family Frame

CHAPTER 6: On Framing Peace:

                 Framing Obama’s Biggest AfPak Mistake 
                 Re Iran: The 'Cool It' Option
                 Talking About Iraq
                 U.S. Moral Integrity Demands Crime Metaphor

CHAPTER 7: On Framing the Environment and Sustainability

                 Framing Earthgate After Copenhagen
                 An 11th Hour Sequel
                 Framing Sustainability for the American

CHAPTER 8: On Framing Social and Economic Justice

                 Say “Rules,” Not “Regulation”
                 The Grass Roots Stimulus Story
                 Talking Opportunity in America



CHAPTER   9: American Framing Tools that Add Oomph!

CHAPTER 10: The American Framing Steps: Our Secret

CHAPTER 11: More American Framing Tools



American Studies

Metaphor and Social Change

Framing and Cognitive Rhetoric

Language and Media Work

APPENDIX I: Frames, Framing, and Metaphor Today

APPENDIX II: Some Metaphor Project Workshop Results

                   Metaphor Project Eco-Workshop Examples 1997-2002

                   Results of a Metaphor Project Workshop on Fair Trade    

APPENDIX III: Hot Issues in Framing






Here are Two Longer Reviews:


Review #1:

Talking to the ‘mainstream’ about peace, justice,

and ecological sustainability

by Shelley Tanenbaum, 
QEW Steering Committee Clerk

from BeFriending Creation May-June 2012, p. 3


HAVE YOU EVER TRIED to have a serious political

discussion with family members, friends, or co-workers

who have world views or opinions different from

your own, only to rapidly descend into name-calling

and raised voices? Have you ever written an op-ed

piece or given a talk, only to be wildly misinterpreted

and find yourself under attack?

Susan Strong of Strawberry Creek (Calif.) Friends

Meeting has written Move Our Message: How to

Get America’s Ear* as a guidebook for those of us

who call ourselves liberals or progressives and who

often feel that communication is impossible with

people who don’t wear that label.

Susan has been helping progressives and liberals

mainstream their messages since 1997, via her nonprofit

organization, The Metaphor Project. Susan has

led workshops on “Friendly Persuasion” and has written

two articles for Quaker Eco-Bulletin.**

By “mainstreaming” she means translating our

messages into commonly understood language that

evokes the best American values, the ones we share.

She is not suggesting that we water down or change

what we want to say. However, she shows us how to

deliver a message that can be heard by someone other

than those who already agree with us.

The best way to achieve that goal, Susan says, is to

use language and succinct phrases that are commonly

used, are easy to understand, and pack a lot of information

in a small amount of words. Susan sees the use

of metaphors and “speaking American” as a way to

communicate complexity without requiring the listener

to read multiple volumes or engage in lengthy

study to get to the point. She emphasizes that we can

do this and keep our integrity, because we are simply

telling the truth in a more accessible way. Further, such care with

our words—empathizing with the listener so

that we can understandhow they are hearing

our words before we use them—will allow us to

communicate at a deep level. Only after we can

make that heart-to-heart connection will there be

an audience for our talking points and the nuances

they may express.


Move Our Message: How to Get America’s

Ear is full of practical guidance on how to connect

with mainstream American audiences. The book includes

a wealth of examples of how to talk about

peace, justice, and ecological sustainability. It outlines

how to run a workshop for creating messages

that will get your point across successfully.


Of course, Susan has found that some people just

do not want to alter the wording of their messages in

any way, nor do they want to do anything that feels

like actively trying to persuade others. Susan answers,

“If we progressives want our vision of a better world to

come true, we need to pay more attention to what

works for the general public. To get the best possible

results, we would be wise to translate our message into

colorful, story-evoking language or images. If we really

care about our issues, we’ll make the effort to persuade

others in the most effective way possible.”



she is promoting effective communication, not false

or misleading communication. She wants us to empathize

with our listeners and find common ground using

stories and metaphors that are easily understood by

all of us:


“To evoke shared values we need stories, and to

convey stories quickly we need to use the familiar

cultural language that reminds people of them,”

Susan says. “That’s what Occupy Wall Street did last

fall, with ‘they’re the 1%’ and ‘we’re the 99%’ slogans.

Those simple but meaningful phrases changed

the political narrative in this country. They were

short, punchy, and had the power to stick and transform.

As 2012 and the years to come unfold, we will

need to be able to say a lot more things like that to

help the cause of peace, justice, and Earthcare.”



*The Metaphor Project, 2012, 172 pp., trade paperback,

$10, is available from <www.metaphorproject.org>.

** “Eco-Friendly Persuasion” was published in the

July-Aug 2004 edition of QEB and is available at




The Jan-Feb edition of QEB, including Susan’s article,

“Challenging the Have More’s 2010 Con Job,” is available

at <www.quakerearthcare.org/Publications/




Review #2:

Mainstreaming the Progressive Message in 2012

by Sarah Hawthorne, with James Hosley


from WritingforGodot, ReaderSupportedNews.org