Here’s today’s tip: Be accessible. If voters and supporters can’t reach you on the campaign trail, they’ll doubt they will once you’re elected.
One of the perennial complaints about elected officials is their lack of accessibility. We talk about them getting caught in a bubble of their own creation or shunning the hoi polloi. If you’re running for office, chances are that you’ve heard that charge and your frustration with an incumbents failure in that area may be motivating you to run.
So the last thing you want to do is fall into that trap. More than that, you need to demonstrate to your future constituents that you won’t be THAT GUY.
There are lots of ways to convey that approachability but here are a few of my favorites:
- Publish your cell phone number on campaign literature and your website. Get a separate phone if you’re really worried about call volume or security but make sure folks can pick up the phone and call you. Fewer will take advantage of it than you’d think, but everybody will notice.
- Knock lots of doors. Nothing says, “I want to listen to you,” like actually listening to people. Don’t make the whole conversation at the door about you and all the myriad of things you want to do. Make sure it’s a real, 2-way conversation. Everybody loves to share their opinion but rarely do folks ask us what ours is and then really listen as we give a candid response. When it does, we like it and take notice.
- Take lots of questions. Depending on the dynamics of your race and fervor of your opposition, taking unlimited questions at large events may or may not be a good idea. However, there are plenty of other mediums to use. You can solicit questions and answer them via Facebook Live, post Q/A on your blog, take questions on Twitter, etc.This is stuff you can squeeze in on limited time and use to make an impact.
Like I said, there are lots of ways to show you’re accessible but if you don’t cultivate some into a habit now, folks won’t believe you’re available to them now and, more importantly, won’t believe you will be once you’re elected.