With the rising fear of Covid-19, governments around the world are quick to introduce and implement emergency short-term policies to address and contain the spread of the virus. Expediency and enforcement are key. However, long term policies require a longer thought process, typically crafted with sustainability and certainty in mind.
An important step in determining the efficacy of your policy depends on the extent of its benefit vis-a-vis its cost. Is your policy beneficial? Are there harms involved? This applies to the Visualisation Stage of a policy speech, as discussed in the first installment of this series here.
In this series, we will look at how to visualize your policy through a Stakeholder Analysis in order to better contextualize your policy to reality. This is where we start “Playing People” by looking at the different parties involved in the policy, to get a feel of how their lives are or will be affected by the problem and your policy.
In simple terms, Stakeholders are individuals, institutions, or parties directly or indirectly affected by your policy. When presenting a policy speech, speakers tend to overlook analyzing the problem from different perspectives, preventing the speaker from being aware of potential policy harms or indirect implications. A Stakeholder Analysis mitigates this risk, by assessing your policy from the lenses of all stakeholders. Utilizing the Stakeholder Analysis in a speech would require the following steps:
1) Brainstorming – Identification of Stakeholders
The first step would be to brainstorm and identify the stakeholders involved in your policy. This can be done by simply asking and answering the following questions,
Who are the beneficiaries and proponents of the policy?
Who are the opponents and parties harmed by the policy?
Is the government and/or public services needed or affected by the policy?
How will the policy affect various sectors within the nation?
How will the policy affect the rest of the world?
The above exercise allows you to identify stakeholders and outline their respective interests in relation to the policy. Such interests are varied and include economic, health, security, environmental, social national, international, and even emotional interests. Stakeholders are not limited to persons but could be institutions, companies, industries, communities, countries and even, concepts or ideas.
2) Categorizing – Grouping of Interests
The second step would then be to identify the nature and extent of the various stakeholder interests. During this step, stakeholders will be categorized into the following broad groupings:
Primary: parties who are directly affected by the policy, whether positive or negative. i.e. the policy’s main beneficiaries or opponents
Secondary: parties who are indirectly affected by the policy, whether positive or negative. i.e. parties or industries connected to the policy’s beneficiaries or opponents
Key: parties who have power, resources and/or influence over the policy. i.e. the government, policy or decision-makers, lobby groups, management of the company
3) Addressing & Applying – Highlighting benefits, Mitigating harms
The third step would be the step that is most essential and relevant to your speech. This is where everything comes together and speakers are able to use their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to:
Apply the information to the different stages of Monroe’s Motivated System (MMS); and
Address the various stakeholder interests.