Persuading Team Trump: The New Inside-the-Beltway Reality

Following is an excerpt from my latest position paper, “Persuading Team Trump The New Inside-the-Beltway Reality.”

It was a scant two days after the 2016 presidential election. A friend and I had long ago planned to catch up over coffee. It just so happens that he handles government relations for a trade association. You can guess which topic dominated our conversation.


He said that his team had established lines of communication with Hillary Clinton’s transition team in an effort to get their top issues on the new administration’s radar. They did not, however, reach out to Donald Trump’s people on the assumption that the Republican candidate had no chance of winning.

They found themselves up the creek without the proverbial paddle. Businesses and associations with issues before the federal government are suddenly scrambling to rearrange their messaging for team Trump—and they have to do it quick. The smart ones performed an immediate reset. How many of these steps have you begun to put in place?


  • Hold a series of message development sessions at which you craft a magnetic message capable of resonating with Trump officials.
  • Analyze that message rigorously, using external advisors to road test it and tell you if you are on target (what I like to call the “dummy test”).
  • Train your top executives and your government relations staff to deliver these messages concisely, reliably , and powerfully.
  • Identify any campaign promises that touch upon your public policy positions.
  • Draft and circulate updated position papers explaining your issues in terms that stand a chance of persuading the new administration.

It is essential to tap your internal and external communications and government relations resources to the maximum extent.

What steps are you taking to connect with this new Washington, D.C., power center?



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