The Friendly, Nice and Likeable Strategy by Elayne De Maria

By at May 16, 2012 | 3:01 pm | Print

The Friendly, Nice and Likeable Strategy by Elayne De Maria

“Learn to love, respect and enjoy other people”. Dale Carnegie

Thinking about running for office someday? Think friendly, nice and likeable. How many times have you heard from someone after they voted in a local election “I voted for him because he is a really good guy or she is such a nice person”. So let’s explore how making friends is the path to political victory. The more friends you have before your campaign starts, the more name recognition you will have. On election day, friends vote for friends.

It is never too early to start making friends. In fact, if you start this process years before your actual run, you will intuitively know when the right moment is to jump in the race. It is when you have enough friends to win.  Start by engaging in some of the following in your town and county.

  • Join a large civic organization and run for office within the organization.
  • Align yourself with a charity that holds volunteer opportunities that are regularly scheduled and reach a large number of people. Show up for every volunteer opportunity.
  • Become a scout leader or coach to the youth in the community.
  • If you own a small business in your community, take the time to get to know your customers.
  • If you belong to church, get active in a visible way.
  • If you work for a large company, be mindful of the people who live in your district. Get to know them.
  • Volunteer for activities in the local school.
  • Volunteer to help other candidates run for office.
  • Get active in the Democratic Party.
  • Get to know the people who work in the local media–town newspapers, blogs, radio, and TV.

So how do you turn all of these acquaintances into friends. Listen, Listen, Listen. Be interested in the lives of your new friends. When you are with them focus on the moment and hear they have to say without being distracted by your phone. By listening, your friends are creating the foundation for your run for office.

Start a database recording basic information about your new friends and then work the list.  For example, if you know from your conversations that one of your new friends has a interest in something and you come across an article about it -email it to them. Be a good friend.

So what to do about all those friends and facebook?  Many political consultants will tell you that your personal page should be on “lockdown” and your public page is for the benefit of the public. It is a tough call when you are trying to make friends and build a base of potential voters for your first run for office in a local election. I would post a personal page for your future campaign. Your first priority is potential voters. Friend them. If Facebook is a critical component of your personal life, explore creating a second closed personal page. Keep your family/close friends and “new friends” pages separate. Do not post on your wall or anyone else’s anything that can be misconstrued and come back to haunt you in the future.  Remember Friendly, Nice and Likeable -everytime you post anything to social media.

As you are making friends, take note of the influencers. Influencers are individuals who influence others. Identifying the influencers is critical because they will help you get elected. Also, make note of people who wouldn’t vote for you if you were the only candidate running. Smile and move on.

As you get to know your new friends, let them know that you are thinking about running for office in the future. It is important to plant the seed early. Make note in your database their reaction. If initially they are very supportive, you may be talking to future members of your campaign staff. There is nothing wrong with planting that seed more than once.

After an election cycle, take a look at the local races. Look at voter turnout. Calculate your need to win number and compare it to how many friends are in your database. Is there a race you can win?

Do you have enough friends?

Elayne De Maria, Founder  a knowledge based community to inspire and educate Democrats to run for office and win in down-ticket races by demystifying the campaign and providing access to political experts.  Elayne is passionate about getting more Democrats elected to office and has also created the following facebook pages:

Management & Strategy

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  • greendogdotty

    Yes, get involved in your community before throwing your hat in the ring. Show you care. Just jumping in with no experience is usually a waste of time. And shows little more than blind ambition. If you care, participate. Then run on an issue that you have shown leadership in.

  • DownTickeDems

    Great advice from Green Dog Campaigns.