Ten Steps For Changing The Rules
1) Be nice to people.
If you really want to be taken seriously, you have to be prepared to work alongside others, no matter how much you might disagree with them. You have a far greater chance of making progress if people see you as a nice person with a genuine belief in a particular issue. You do not want to come across as a bloody-minded fanatic with a single item agenda so, whatever happens, be nice to people !
2) Be a member.
Angling clubs and associations are nearly always structured in such a way that members have some kind of say in what happens. Clubs are not obliged to listen to, or act upon the views of non-members so usually the only way to change anything is from within the ranks.
3) Find out if others share your views.
Are others willing to support you in trying to change the rules ? Internet forums are an excellent means of gauging opinion.
4) Choose your battleground.
Decide on the key arguments you will need to win. Try to avoid emotive points and stick to scientific facts wherever possible. This might involve doing some research of your own, or approaching other organisations for information. Don’t forget to acknowledge your sources properly, people may want to check that the information you are providing is correct.
5) Understand ‘how’ to win.
Make sure you fully understand the mechanism by which rules may be changed and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
6) Draft a proposal.
Use plain English and make sure there is no room for misinterpretation. You will probably need someone to ‘second’ your proposal. Watch out for the submission date. You may need to submit your written proposal a number of days, weeks or even months in advance of an AGM or other meeting. Use recorded delivery and make sure you get an acknowledgment that your proposal has been received.
7) Campaign effectively.
Try to reach as many potential supporters as possible, let them know what you are trying to achieve and how they can help. If you need them to attend a meeting and cast their vote, make sure you tell them where and when the meeting will take place.
Don’t underestimate the power of the internet in generating interest and support, although more traditional approaches like displaying posters and leafletting can also be effective.
8) The bigger picture.
Can you draw support from anywhere else ? Will other groups of anglers vote with you if you offer your support on issues which are of importance to them ?
Look beyond your own situation. What is happening nationally ? Has the same battle been fought elsewhere and is there anything to be learned from what happened ?
9) Day of Judgement.
When the meeting or AGM finally arrives, try to ensure that your argument is put as professionally as possible. Take some notes with you, or even a script, and consider your appearance, you might not be taken quite as seriously if you look like a tramp and muddle your words.
If alcohol is sold, wait until you’ve said your piece before having a drink and try to discourage your supporters from over indulging. You don’t want your proposal thrown out after all that hard work, just because someone has too much to drink and too much to say.
10) Be gracious, in victory or defeat.
If it all goes wrong, remember you can always try again; even if it means waiting 12 months for another AGM. There is no point alienating those who didn’t vote your way. Keep talking to them. There’s always a chance they might change their views. If you win, don’t rub salt into their wounds. You might need their help and support another day.