Finding Commonalities and Solutions With Decision-Makers

Training Modules

To support you in working through this guide and putting the archetypes, nonpolarizing communication and messages into practice, we offer short training modules. Use these at your own pace and come back for refreshers when you need. Use the workbook below as you watch the modules.

Module 1: Introduction to the Guide and Overview of the Training Modules (5 min)

Finding common ground and win-win solutions in policy negotiation is an art that blends close listening, two-way conversations and meaningful relationships of trust built over time. Voices for Healthy Kids offers this resource as part of the services we provide to empower advocates and drive for meaningful policy change in every state. We hope it helps open the space to advance policies that benefit all families, babies and young children. 

Module 2: Archetype Overview (10 min)

This guide identifies four conservative decision-making styles. We call these archetypes, typical examples of a person or group. Our commitment is to do this work without stereotypes or judgment; instead, we use a nonpolarizing communication style to more deeply understand the feelings, needs and core values within each archetype to help you find shared understanding and advance productive debate. 

Module 3: Church & Country (5 min)

Decision-makers who are guided by faith, and who feel loyalty and respect for chosen leaders, represent the conservative Church and Country archetype.

Module 4: Economic Influenced (5 min)

Highly educated, financially secure decision-makers who prioritize the economy and business strength, and favor limited government, represent the Economic Influenced archetype. 

Module 5: Legacy Republican (5 min)

Decision-makers driven by traditional values — hard work, a two-parent household and the American Dream — represent the Legacy Republican archetype. 

Module 6: Populist-Aligned (5 min)

Decision-makers who value individuals making efforts to advance themselves without outside help or government spending, and are led by constitutional ideals, represent the Populist-Aligned archetype. 

Module 7: Hidden Feelings (30 min) and add-on The Role of Trauma (7 min)

Much of our nonpolarizing language strategy is grounded in the principles of a field called nonviolent communication, which focuses on underlying needs and feelings to get to the heart of the issue and build mutual understanding from the ground up. As you deepen your understanding of the archetypes and the specific people you’re meeting with, you will also benefit from deeper insights about the other person in the conversation: you. Getting clear about your stances, values, needs and feelings can help you feel grounded and ready for a two-way dialogue. Think of it as creating your own archetype! This practice is important and requires appropriate mentorship. We are offering resources for advocates to begin their learning and practice, and strongly suggest supplemental coaching and/or peer support

Module 8: PN-3 Messages for the Archetypes (10 min)

The PN-3 core message frame is grounded in values and built from elements of existing tested messaging, adapted based on the decision-maker interviews and other insights from this research. You can augment this with policy- or issue-specific messages, tailored to align with the archetype characteristics. 

Module 9: Local Decision-Making Messages for the Archetypes (10 min)

The core message frame for talking about the benefits of local decision making is similarly grounded in values and informed by decision-maker interviews and other insights from this research. You can augment this with policy- or issue-specific messages, tailored to align with the archetype characteristics. 

Putting it All Together!

Above all, this is a guide to productive conversation, not merely a message guide. Conversation—including listening and seeking to find shared values—is essential in creating connections across lived experiences and perspectives. Your instinct may be to say “I know we disagree, but…” and then launch into your case for policy change. But decision-makers suggest you look first for opportunities to collaborate rather than starting with why you disagree. These conversations aren’t always easy; please refer to Creating Shared Space For Productive Conversations for tips on preparing yourself for a conversation where both parties’ needs and feelings are honored.

If you’d like further support, check our upcoming and recorded trainings to find live workshops based on this guide and approach.


These trainings will be presented by Voices for Healthy Kids and the project team from Metropolitan Group, a social impact firm focused on public health and social justice. The MG team conducted the research for this project, and works with other nonprofit organizations, public agencies and foundations to understand how to talk about, advocate for and advance racial and health equity, especially across geographic and ideological divides.

This link is provided for convenience only and is not an endorsement of either the linked-to entity or any product or service.