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How to Run for Office: 5 Tips for Women in Politics

Summary

There has never, in the history of our nation, been a better time for women in politics. Running a political campaign is of course stressful and can feel like sprinting a marathon, but at the end of it all is […]

There has never, in the history of our nation, been a better time for women in politics. Running a political campaign is of course stressful and can feel like sprinting a marathon, but at the end of it all is the dream that so many of us hold in our hearts: The ability to affect change for our communities. If you’ve ever thought about running for political office, now might be just the right time to put out feelers and organize a launch for that role you know you were born to serve in.

1. Maintain clear messaging.

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The first port of call when considering a run for government office is to understand your message. What is it that you are passionate about? What gets you up in the morning? Maybe your community needs new roadworks, or maybe you’ve been fighting to tear down a stalled construction site for years. Whatever it is, find your message and your drive and be sure that you’re communicating your message in a way that voters understand. As long your message and passion are clear both to you and to potential voters, everything else will flow like water.

2. Reach constituents where they are.

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Once you understand the core message you want to put out to your constituents, its time to learn how to reach out to them directly. Figure out where your constituents are and meet them there, whether it means phone calls or social media. This could also be through political text messaging channels or by organizing an extensive series of town halls in your local community. There’s more than one way to reach out to your community, you just have to find the way that works the people you’re trying to reach. Text messaging is particularly effective, as so many people are on their phones these days. Also, many perceive political text messages as far less intrusive than robocalls or other phone calls. Start by asking yourself how people communicate with one another in your local area. You might live in a highly technical space in which Zoom meetings and YouTube ads drive the most buzz, or you may find that a more personal touch works best—going door to door or organizing a community town hall meeting to show your support for the causes that matter most locally.

Express your vision.

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It’s not only crucial to understand your platform and your voters, but also to hammer home the message in a way that will resonate with them. Politics is first and foremost an imaging issue. If you aren’t able to capture the imagination of your constituents then you may not have much hope of winning your election. This is where slogans and curated talking points come in. Your campaign manager will surely hire out pollsters and analysts that are professionals at targeting the root of what your community wants and needs. They can help you craft a message that is tailor-made for your voting community, but at the end of the day it’s up to you to deliver it with power and poise. You must energize voters to want to stand behind you at the polls.

Perfect your look.

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Just like politics has an overwhelming focus on buzzwords, it also places outsized importance on the look and ‘feel’ of a candidate. The first televised debate in Presidential politics took place between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Nixon was the favorite to win the White House until the sweaty mess that was his face graced the nighttime televisions of a country in rapt attention. Rounding out your wardrobe with smart, petite jackets and comfortable, yet stylish shoes is a must when running for any level of government office. You want people to see you as a professional, not just another slob in a tee and jeans. Invest in some classy looking blouses, blazers, dresses and outerwear and you’ll see that the way you dress even makes you feel more confident.

Have fun.

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Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun when you are running for government. It’s a daunting task, but remember why you are doing it. Government is a construction by the people and for the people, and your mandate as a soon-to-be-elected official is to protect the interests of your community. It’s a big task, but you are up for the challenge. Don’t forget to take a step back from the madness and enjoy the ride.