Updated: Mar 1
When it comes to pitching an idea, a person, a candidate–whatever–the same principles apply. For whatever reason, Murphy’s Law loves to kick in the most when it comes to public speaking; invariably the time you have for a speech will get shortened. Short political speeches can have just as much of an effect as longer more drawn-out orations.
While today’s post focuses on political candidates and how they can stump when short on time, it easily applies to pitching anything when short on time. The next time you need to get an idea across quickly and still persuade your audience, use the steps below.
When campaigning for office, you need to be adept at giving short political speeches, which means having multiple versions of your campaign speech ready to go.
Often times, you won’t just be in front of a crowd with plenty of time to speak; instead, you will only have seconds or no more than 2 minutes to pitch your candidacy.
From debates to panel forums to editorial interviews to Q&A sessions to getting your time cut down to 30 seconds — you have to be ready to give short political speeches rather than long ones.
Here are three ways to stump when short on time:
1. The Twitter Pitch: Come up with a 140 character sentence that summarizes why you are running. This isn’t something that you will be able to think of on the spot; instead, take time to ask yourself, “If I was standing at the polls and could say one word to each voter as they entered, what would I say?” An added bonus is that your door knockers can use this one sentence, too, when canvassing.
2. One Word: Obama was really good at this and you don’t need to be on a national stage to take advantage of it. While few of us can remember his policy platform from ’08 and ’12, we all still remember, “Hope,” “Change,” and “Forward.” Brainstorm lots of ideas at first and get a few trusted colleagues who are good with language to help you out. You’ll see a theme for your campaign emerge — use one word that captures it. Use this word on your billboards and campaign literature for when voters are giving you no more than 15 seconds of their attention (and that’s being generous).
3. One quick story: Tell a story about yourself that demonstrates how you learned a value or lesson that made you who you are today. If you want a more in-depth guide (http://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/2633/why-candidates-should-ditch-the-resume-stump-speech) go here. Find a story from your past that you can tell in 30–45 seconds and always have it ready.
The methods above aren’t mutually exclusive. You could even create a mini-stump speech that has all 3 elements. Your overall approach to campaign messaging should be to have a central message that you can tell in one word, one sentence, or one longer speech.