Not long ago I attended a candidate forum where 5 candidates running for office were invited to introduce themselves, and given five minutes to do so.

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I was sitting where I could watch both the audience, and the candidates. Four of the five candidates got up and recited their life history—where they were born, raised, went to school, the jobs they held, the clubs they joined. This is what I saw…

Not a single one of them kept the attention of the audience. They were boring, dull, totally uninteresting. And they should have known, because half the audience took out their cells phones to check their email. Those that didn’t were staring at the floor, or up at the ceiling.

The 5th and final speaker did something different. She told a story. About something that she saw as a teenager that forever changed her life, changed the way she thinks, her notions of right and wrong.


She used her story to illustrate her values, principles, and fundamental beliefs. From the moment she started speaking she had the audience in the palm of her hand . All eyes were on her the entire time she spoke. After the forum, people stood in line to shake her hand, and volunteer in her campaign.

As you prepare to run for office, develop and practice your story. Think of the times in your life when someone profoundly changed the way you feel, the way you think, the way you behave. The day you discovered your passion, and the reason you were born. Some special moment with a parent, teacher, coach, child or mentor that changed who you are, or what you became.

Good Stories touch hearts. They trigger human emotions. They change the way people feel. Do that with your story and you’ll find people lining up to volunteer in your campaign.

Next week, I’ll be back with more on essential steps to preparing to run for office.

running for office

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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