OK, so this sounds like stating the obvious. But is it really?
To be elected successfully, your preparation begins the moment you start thinking about what you have to do – and what you are going to do once you are elected, if and when you get there.
In the first instance, you need to decide if your approach and the ideas that you have – your ‘platform’ are going to resonate with enough people to give you a fighting chance of success when election day arrives – and this is right now, before you even think about starting any kind of campaign.
For many of us, the first thing we do with an idea like running in an election, is immediately go and seek the advice of friends, family and our loved ones. Yes, we always need the encouragement of those close by, but they have a habit of being biased – not always for the best. Their opinion can easily set you on an unfruitful pathway to a lot of avoidable heartache and hard work, or alternatively turn you away from doing something which would ultimately be very positive for everyone else. More often than not, people who are close to us will tell us what they think we want to hear – and in politics, that really doesn’t help anyone.
If you’ve identified issues upon which you can base a fight, talk to people who could vote for you and who are outside of your normal social group and ask them what they think. Don’t grandstand and roll out impromptu speeches to anyone who will listen – that will just annoy them and make you look little more than a fool. Ask questions; see how people feel. Discover why their experiences have made them think a particular way. Find out what the different experience of their choice would look and feel like.
It will not take many conversations with different people to tell you whether you might be going the right way. What is more, you are likely to gain even further insight into the perspectives of others that could well support and develop your own thoughts and arguments.
- DON’T tell people who are strangers what you are thinking about doing, or why you are asking the questions. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself before you have even decided if you want to see the process through – and may even break Electoral Law by doing so.
- DO take the opportunity to speak to everyone you can. Everyone likes to feel their opinion is valued and you will soon become away of common themes and facts that deserve greater focus. What is more, every conversation is a step nearer to being comfortable talking to anyone in any situation – a prerequisite for a respected politician.