THE POLITICS GUY TM
Campaigns are like retail products. They need packaging that is consistent from ads to shelf labels.
Have a clear candidacy message and brand name image. Voters need to see the same message and image whether meeting you face-to-face, on signs, in brochures, on your web site, at social networking sites, in your stump speech or in word-of-mouth from your supporters.
Sit down with your core cadre and work it out.
Follow the K.I.S.S. rule you probably learned from a good writing teacher: Keep It Short and Simple.
First, create your introduction. This Presentation Statement will be what you will utter the most in the campaign. It is what job coaches call The Elevator Speech: how to introduce yourself if you met someone important in an elevator and only have seconds before the door opens.
Keep yours simple. In 20 seconds or less, you should be able to say:
- Who you are;
- What you’re running for; and,
- Why I should want to vote for you.
You will use this Presentation Statement continuously whether you meet people by chance on the street or knocking door-to-door or while mingling at networking events and political functions.
Rehearse it. Video is helpful because your posture and smile are as important as the words coming out of your mouth. You want to appear sincere and natural. The first impression is crucial. It is the one time most voters will have direct contact with you and the perception etched in their minds will carry to the ballot box.
Remember the K.I.S.S. rule.
Voters have short attention spans. Despite your perception because you’re so close to your campaign, you are not the most important thing in their lives.
At election time, you will be part of the din in the campaign clutter bombarding them on TV, radio, in their mailbox, in e-mails, on the phone and across their doorsteps. So consistency and brevity are vital.
Don’t be an ideologue. Don’t bore them with issues. Once elected, you will have ample opportunity to translate your core values into policy. But you won’t be able to accomplish anything if you don’t win the office. Campaigning face-to-face isn’t the time to talk philosophy or complex issues! Campaigning is when you let your personality shine and establish a personal bond with the voter.
Remember, voters do not care how smart you are and they certainly don’t care about your agenda. They’re interested in themselves. In the back of their minds, politics boils down to what’s in it for me?
So, the campaign key is to be good listener and pick up the clues of what is most important to them.
Cull down all those great ideas racing through your head to three key issues to which voters can relate. Using the K.I.S.S. rule, boil down the ideas into short easy-to-digest phrases which establish your views in relation to the perceived needs of the voter. If it takes more than 20 seconds to explain, it is too complicated to use in the campaign no matter how important it seems to you.
Voters don’t need to hear a discourse on monetary policy. They just want to hear the simple shorthand that you want to limit government growth, control spending and cut taxes. The preceding was a simple sentence. You know there is so much more to it than that but the simple sentence in under 20 seconds lets them know where you stand before their attention span wanders. If the person is a real policy wonk and wants more information, you can get into a little more detail but the simple sentence is all most voters want to hear before they use their mental remote control to tune you out.
Avoid emotionally-charged vocabulary, even if it is technically correct intellectually. Don’t confuse the voters or plant doubts in their minds. Reiterating: if it takes more than 20 seconds to explain, it is too complicated to use in the campaign no matter how important it seems to you.
And prepare like an actor to say the same thing over-and-over-and-over again. No matter how bored you get, you will say the same thing night after night without deviation. Someone is hearing it for the very first time! So, no matter how bored you get, you have to keep it fresh and new without changing it.
Stage performers have a sign in dressing rooms reminding them that, “Every night is opening night.” No matter how many times they recite the lines or sing the lyrics, tonight when you bought a ticket they have to make it sound as fresh and new as they did that first time many performances ago. No matter how bored you get, remember on the campaign trail that every night is opening night in front of a new audience of voters.
The Politics Guy Campaign Tips will be published periodically at RLC.org to help pro-liberty candidates get elected.