Lessons from March’s Path to Politics

March 23, 2012

“You may have the best candidate in the world, you may have an issue you are truly passionate about, but without a clear cut message, you will not succeed in getting people to support you.”

Julie Andreeff Jensen, Director at a global communication firm, the Brunswick Group, repeatedly stressed the importance of message crafting during political campaigns and media communication. As someone who has led successful political campaigns at national and local levels alike, she shared her insights with women at Running Start’s March Path to Politics program.

The central function of a competing message, according to Ms. Jensen, is to give people a memorable personalizing impression. In the busy world of politics, people are only going to support candidates and courses with an authentic, genuine, and differentiable message. She suggested everyone around the table to prepare for three messages: the 30 seconds elevator pitch for very limited time frame, the short bio for basic introductions,
and the one page bio.

She emphasized the importance of having trusted people who give you honest feedback on your message, and prepare yourself for tough questions. As young women who are involved in politics, we are going to face the question of qualification and ability. It is easier to figure out how to answer these questions properly in training before they turn up in real life. During the interactive time, she passed around exercise sheets asking us to answer several questions. Everyone was supposed to fill out our names, where we were from, our issues, the reasons for us to care, the reasons for other people to care, and our calls of action.

Several participants shared their message with everyone, and I was impressed with their confidence, passion and willingness to share. It is time for me to craft a compelling message, and aim for a Running Start.

Cathy Liu, Running Start Intern

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