I spent Saturday in Dallas and had the honor to interact with about two dozen up and coming patient advocates for chronic pain.
It was part of the U.S. Pain Foundation Pain Ambassador Advocacy Summit. We’ll write more on it later in the week.
What was interesting to me was a question and answer segment where we discussed the best ways to describe your chronic pain—in this case to a potential elected official, public policy expert or reporter—none of whom is familiar with chronic pain.
And how do you do it efficiently?
I have the privilege to communicate with many chronic pain patients through the course of this work with the National Pain Report—-and many of you are frustrated because “people just don’t get it”..sometimes even your own family members and your employers are among those who you believe need more education.
And if your family members and employers don’t “get it”, how the hell will an elected official, a policy maker, an employer understand?
The truth is you can almost see their eyes glaze over, right? And the more you talk, the faster they glaze!
The Brits have a word for it: “chunter” which means to talk for a long time about something that other people do not find interesting.
So how can you make your chronic pain interesting and important to people who don’t have it.
In the course of our discussions over the weekend, we came up with an interesting drill—how to quickly engage someone on the issue of chronic pain who doesn’t know anything about it.
How can you make them “feel your pain”?
In speech making, it’s called the attention getter. In media training, I talk about a mythical radio station WIII-FM—which stands for “What’s in It for Me?”
If your audience cares, you can reach them. If they don’t, you won’t.
So, here’s the drill. Imagine you are talking with a policy maker, an employer, or even a family member.
How would you describe your pain?
How do you do it in two sentences?
We ask that you go to our commentary section and describe your pain and why someone you talk with you should care about it.
Do it in two short sentences.
(Some of you I predict will hate this and tell me it’s a stupid idea—well it won’t be my last one).
We’ll publish the best ones because the ability to communicate chronic pain isn’t how long you talk about it; it’s how well you talk about it.
And someone else’s words might help you in the future when you’re talking about chronic pain.