Just as every business needs to “sell” something, politics and public policy is about sales too. And people respond (or not) to political messages in pretty much the same way that they do to any other sales pitch.
Good messages that are relevant are more likely to cut through the clutter. Bad messages get tuned out.
When it comes to effectively communicating a message, there are a lot of great lessons from the business world that we can apply to politics. One of them is known as the “elevator pitch”. It’s a condensed way to get a clear and convincing idea or proposal across to someone else in about the time that it takes to ride in an elevator. A quick and succinct summary of what you’re doing, why, and what you want people to do.
What’s the thumbnail version? Why is it important? Can you bottom-line it in thirty seconds or less? In a way that defines a problem to fit your solution, and describes how your solution will fix it? Or, in a way that matters to your target audience?
Outline of a Political Elevator Pitch:
- Describe your idea, what you’re trying to do or the result that you want
- Why is it important? Make it relevant to people and their values.
- Describe the key benefits of your “solution”. What’s in it for them?
- Clearly state what they need to do. Make it easy and actionable.
Be sure to frame the problem in a way that fits your solution. Be passionate and use “benefit” focused terms. Be concise and clear. Write it down. Read it. Then delete anything that’s not critical.
Remember, the trick is to get all of this across in a few sentences, or about thirty seconds.
Making yourself go through the process of creating a good elevator pitch can help you clarify what you’re “selling” in your own mind, and get a better understanding of the point of view of your target audience.
If you’re going to go to the trouble of speaking out for a policy or proposal that you believe in, (or even run a campaign), then you may as well go to the (slightly more) trouble of crafting a clear and concise message that can help you be more successful.
Otherwise, what’s the point?