The Art of the Question – How to Talk to Congressman Ted Yoho at our Town Hall Meeting

As we gear up for the Town Hall Event with Congressman Ted Yoho on March 4th, and as our question submission deadline (submission to us, not to him) looms, we realize that some of you may know what you want to ask, but find yourselves uncertain of exactly how to ask it. We know how you feel! We don’t want you to be so stuck that you feel too paralyzed to submit your question. It can be daunting to think about. We’re here to help.

Good questions are an art form. There are open questions, closed questions, and direct yes or no questions. There are descriptive questions, 2 or 3 part questions, and questions that contain personal stories which demand a personal answer in return. Any way we look at, the art of asking the right question in the right way always matters when we’re seeking to get real information.

“Garbage in, garbage out, is a popular truth, often said in relation to computer systems: If you put the wrong information in, you’ll get the wrong information out. The same principle applies to communications in general: If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll probably get the wrong answer, or at least not quite what you’re hoping for.” ~Quote from Mind Tools Editorial Team

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember to choose a topic that you are passionate about.  You can always count on your own  experiences to access that passion which will guide you through asking an effective question. This leads us to what Indivisible is looking for. We are looking for personal stories. Personal experiences make the most impact, and they demand the most out of an answer. A personal experience will force your congressman to truly consider what you’ve said and maybe even feel some empathy, and that empathy, no matter how small is the key.

When writing your question, whenever possible, include the bill and Yoho’s voting record on the topic.  Explain how those votes impact you and ask him what personally motivated him to make those choices.

An example:

Yoho has introduced bill HB19 to state that life starts at conception.  How would this impact your family and what personal story can you share?  Ask Yoho what personal decisions he has had to make in regards to pregnancy, and what decision he might make if a member of his own family had to suffer the consequences that such a bill would bring upon them.

A second example:

The Affordable Care Act has had a great impact on many lives. How would a repeal impact your family? How would it impact Yoho’s family if it were repealed?

A third example:

We have been working to protect our environment for many reasons. Our economy is based on tourism. We have a vital spring and river water source in our area and yet Big Oil and Yoho are pushing through deregulation and the Sabal Trail Pipeline that will not benefit Florida, but will cause our schools, communities and water sources to be at great risk. We understand that Yoho is supported by Koch, but how would Yoho feel if the Santa Fe river was destroyed, or a gas explosion happened at one of our schools in the path of the pipeline?

We have gathered a few additional resources for you to utilize.

20 questions for your Congressman
25 questions to ask to get the story
Asking questions effectively
How to have a successful town hall

Remember, Indivisible Gainesville stands with you. We support YOU in using your voice at this town hall meeting. Now get in there and submit your passionate, personal and demanding question!




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