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Published September 01, 2010 in Talking Points by Sharon Harris
As a libertarian, you are automatically a spokesperson for libertarianism. How well you answer questions about liberty may well determine whether or not your listeners decide to become libertarians.
So you should always be prepared to answer, in a quick, clear and memorable way, common questions about libertarianism.
Take a lesson from some of the world's best communicators: don't leave it to chance!
Don't hope that inspiration will strike you at the moment you're unexpectedly asked a question. Don't risk the frustration of stumbling around, answering badly, and then kicking yourself a day or two later when the right answer suddenly pops into your head.
Instead, work on your answers in advance. Create soundbites -- short, pithy, memorable answers -- to those questions.
You can probably make a list of questions you are most likely to be asked about libertarianism. (The most common: "What is libertarianism, anyway?")
For each of those questions, create one or more soundbites. They should be about thirty seconds long. Less is better. Write them down. Refine them. Commit them to memory. And practice saying them until they come quickly and easily, and sound natural and fresh.
Former Libertarian Party presidential candidates Ed Clark, David Bergland, and Harry Browne each did this. The seemingly off-the-cuff eloquence they showed during their campaigns was actually the result of their advance work preparing and practicing soundbites.
Happily, you don't have to reinvent the soundbite wheel. The Advocates collected the best of Harry Browne's campaign soundbites into his wonderful book Liberty A to Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now.
Dr. Mary Ruwart's outstanding book Short Answers to the Tough Questions is also a treasure of soundbites.
Take these sources as your starting point. Pick the soundbites you like. Personalize them. Rewrite them and make them your own. Learn them.
You'll be a far more comfortable and polished spokesperson for liberty. And you'll enjoy your casual conversations about libertarianism a lot more.