From the moment you give the very first speech in your campaign – the announcement -- everything that comes from your mouth, or that has come from your mouth, is fair game for your opponent, the media, the general public and social media.
You might be talking with one person at their front door as you knock doors or speaking to a group of people who have gathered around you as you are doing the weekly grocery shopping. Like it or not, as a candidate what you’re saying can be viewed as a speech – and for good or ill -- quotable.
1. 10,000 Messages Ahead of Yours: The average American you are speaking to has heard at least 10,000 other messages/pitches before they came to hear what have to say at that cottage meeting being held for you. This begins with product packaging at breakfast in the morning, personal and public social media, radio, television and talk around the water cooler at work. This “noise” your potential voter is hearing each day, usually on the hour, is the biggest challenge you as a candidate have to break through – more so than what your opponent is saying in their speech across town. It’s this overstimulation in message from all sides that you are up against.
2. It’s the One Liners Voters Are Wanting to Hear: It’s no secret most political speeches are forgettable, but what people remember in a great speech are the fantastic one-liners. Not jokes -- takes too long to tell a joke in a political speech. No, what people remember are the, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” And Ronald Reagan’s unforgettable, “Tear down this wall.” Even a candidate for city council, mayor or legislature can come up with a moment in a speech that will be discussed around the breakfast table the next morning – that is what you are shooting for in the writing of a good political speech.
3. Is There a Point to What You Are Saying? Making sure there is a point in what you are saying, one that when you hit the right cord with the audience they know the passion and heart of your voice is sincere. It is that one stanza from the speech that triggers the voter to go home and repeat that very one thing you had to say – and it’s what will take them to the voting booth, get them to open their wallet, and see them volunteer to spread the word and GOTV for you. A good political speech makes the attendee feel good for having come and listened to what was said and walk away fulfilled because you’ve given them answers to the questions tugging at them. And you have reminded them you are one of them, with those same questions as well, but you’ve offered the road to answer them.
1. In looking for the one good line, remember, every word you speak is as important as the last and the next.
2. If you have a bad reaction to what is said, don’t toss the speech. Analyze and make sure it was not your delivery that was bad.
3. Positive and upbeat in what you are saying.
4. Do not tear your opponent down, you are wasting time you could be telling why you are the better candidate.
5. Know the area/neighborhood where you are speaking. Mention the schools, the shops, a name of someone people hold important in that area of town or country.
6. Statements should be short. Don’t get into the statistics – leave that for the website or mailings.
7. Be cheerful, smile. The show of any emotion that is upbeat is a show of power and confidence.
8. Make sure YOU ARE STICKING WITH AND BUILDING AROUND YOUR CAMPAIGN SLOGAN.
9. Be prepared when you realize… the audience is not listening. Be ready and know the issues so well you tell them if they aren’t going to listen to you, you’re ready to listen to them.
10. Show emotion, don’t be afraid to, unless of course it’s to cry – that is definitely a “do not.”
11. Remember, the audience knows why you are there and why you are talking to them… you’re not fooling anyone. They know you are there to put forward your political campaign agenda. What you have on your side though – they came to listen to you knowing that very thing.