CAAT speakers and local campaigners from Swansea to Norwich and from Hull to Portsmouth came together in Birmingham on 25 April for a training day. Undeterred by the background of militaristic music from the St George's Day events in the square outside, about twenty activists participated enthusiastically in training sessions on public speaking, as well as learning more about CAAT's current campaigns. They also particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet other CAAT campaigners from different parts of the country and exchange experiences and ideas about what works best in campaigning for CAAT.
'Speak out for CAAT' workshop
Comments from participants on "the best thing about the day":
"Finding out what UKTI and DSO is and understanding the issues. Getting some 'weaponry' for general conversations and people eg, at work, and practising doing it - realising it might be something I can do."
"Meeting people and chatting. Learning about current CAAT actions. Picking up printed info. Networking-giving details for keeping in touch with people from this course."
"The Speakers' training was very well-organised and brought out the best in us all. Meeting other campaigners is always a plus on the less formal side."
After the 'ice-breaking' session, there was a workshop on how to counter the argument, often made by our opponents, that reducing arms exports from the UK would cost British jobs. This demonstrated that Government subsidies to the arms trade are out of proportion to the employment benefits. CAAT staff presented some ideas about how the arguments could be tackled and participants also had the opportunity to practise trying to convince 'sceptics' of the arguments. CAAT staff also brought supporters up to date with the latest on our current campaign, 'UKTI Armed and Dangerous'.
After a sandwich lunch, Matthew and Sophie from 'Seeds for Change' facilitated training for speakers. As well as hints on how to get your message across and make an impact, there were opportunities to practise speaking in small groups. Participants ranged from very experienced speakers to new supporters and some who had not previously seen themselves as speakers at all. The supportive atmosphere encouraged those with less experience to gain in confidence. Some participants left keen to sign up for the Speakers' Network and look for opportunities to 'speak out for CAAT', while others left with more confidence to speak to passers-by on a CAAT stall or put CAAT's message over to their friends. A number of participants agreed to exchange contact details, so that they can keep in touch and exchange ideas and experiences and possibly materials they have developed.
The CAAT speaker tool-kit given to each participant includes:
- 'Becoming a CAAT Volunteer Speaker':information about what we ask you to do and the support we offer you
- 'Top Tips for public speaking'
- 'Check-list for organising a talk'
'Aims, key messages and notes for talks on key CAAT topics:
- An introduction to the Arms Trade
- UKTI:Armed and Dangerous
- 'Stop Arming Israel'
- A CD with powerpoint presentations and copies of the other documents
- Arms trade jobs and alternatives: briefing
- Feed-back forms (for the person hosting your talk and for you, the speaker!)
Sign up for the CAAT speakers' network or send for the speakers' tool-kit! Contact Anne-Marie, Local Campaigns Co-ordinator.