Political stump speeches used to be exactly that – given while standing on a sawed off tree stump in the frontier gathering. Today’s version is often called the “elevator pitch.”
1. Consistent and identical from place to place. Connect with the voters on a personal level. Make promises and lay out your ambitious plans. Be Logical. Leave the audience feeling confident and well informed. Why are you the right choice?
2. Stay identical from one day to the next. Only thing changing is mention of events and local geographic area it is being given. Look to Abraham Lincoln developing your stump speech, he is known the best of the best. Never waste time using humor, something Lincoln avoided; he did use “whit”. There is a definite difference: First time Stephen Douglas was to face Lincoln for the 1858 Senate, he said – “He is full of wit, facts, dates.” Something to be remembered.
3. Stump Speech lengths. The commercial given in 30 seconds to 1 minute when the candidate comes face to face with one voter. Impromptu five minute to be given at a gathering the candidate, not scheduled, is asked to say something. Meaty of 10-14 minutes given at cottage meetings, civic clubs, rallies, and appearances with opponent where both are given equal time.
Remember – The stump speech will be one given day after day and might become boring to you, but remember – YOUR AUDIENCE IS HEARING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME!
4. Passion. Have emotion when speaking. If you can’t stand in front of one person or 100 and convince them you have passion for what you are saying – you won’t be believed.
5. Hemmingway for President. The exercise in writing the perfect stump speech comes from a challenge issued to Ernest Hemingway to write a short story in only six words. Hemingway wrote, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” That has become a classic in in speech writing with politicos considered great in the arena of “stump speeches” being able to give a six word speech, which can stand by itself. Writing six-word stump speech think: Who – will you be speaking to? Where – will you be speaking? What – do you want your audience to be talking about later as they are remembering what you had to impart.
6. Gauge your audience. Two things to remember; never be so short people are going to wonder why they showed up to listen. Never be so long you begin to lose their attention. Thanks to the digital age, we are bombarded by 20,000 messages a day – beginning with the message on the cereal box at breakfast. Make sure there is something in your stump speech they are going to carry with them all the way to the voting booth.
7. Rules of the successful stump speech. Your campaign slogan, or message, should be focused on. Because the stump speech must be given over and over again, a candidate has to commit it to memory – only changing things having to do with world and local events of the day.