Friday, February 5, 2010


Why are some candidates edging in front of others? Why have we already lost one DFL gubernatorial candidate? What does it take to win? I've put together some pointers for any candidate, whether gubernatorial, legislative, county attorney or other. These are tips on how to win any election.

1. Polish your speaking and presentation skills. No matter how good you already are, there is always room for improvement. Voters are not impressed with candidates who can't express their ideas clearly, concisely and interestingly.

2. Have an excellent, well thought out answer for each of the issues. Don't be afraid to use visual aids such as graphs and charts.

3. Be audience friendly. Share a little about your life growing up - but don't get carried away. Don't talk about your childhood as a way to get people to relate to you and thus get votes. Voters aren't stupid; they'll see right through that. Just share something of yourself with the audience as though you're sitting in a friend's living room and rehashing old times.

4. Don't be a dork. The Republicans, when they lose, will be anxious to call a DFL governor by a special name. Don't give them a reason to call you Governor Dork. A few candidates have already opened themselves up to this on Facebook. One person inadvertently clicked a button to become an Alan Grayson fan. When Facebook responded with "you are now an Alan Grayson fan," this person immediately responded with "I am not an Alan Grayson fan. I insist that you remove me from your list immediately." There followed Facebook comments from quite a few members.

5. Don't delete your Tweets. Everyone should know that by now after what happened with Mike Perry. Don't delete your own Facebook comments either. It's ok to delete comments from others on your wall, but never delete your own. If you just leave it, it will soon be overshadowed by new postings. If you delete it, others will notice. It will be posted all over the web, just like what happened with Mike Perry in Southern Minnesota.

6. Be informed of all the issues. This includes tax revenue, spending cuts, environment, jobs, health, parks and trails, open space, affordable housing, light rail/rapid transit, higher education, K - 12 education, insurance companies, commerce, small business concerns, second chances for prisoners returning to society after paying their debt, homelessness, Baby Boomers retiring, Minnesota Health Plan, unions, chronic disease, immigration, casinos, Native Americans, discrimination, disparities...and the list is endless. You'd better have a good answer ready for all of these.

7. Don't just say "I'm the best candidate. Let the voters decide that. Your job is to get them to like you the best and think that you are indeed the best candidate. You won't do that by bragging. You'll do it by being personable, knowledgeable, and by making each person feel that you care about them individually.

8. Show Minnesotans that you do truly care about them, about the problems they face in their lives and about their thoughts on how to improve Minnesota. Be interested in everything each person says.

9. Never fling mud on other DFL candidates. The Republicans and the media will do it for you. Say only kind things about each other, especially in front of the cameras.

10. Smile! Have fun with your campaigns! I noticed there are some candidates who frown a lot at the forums and debates. Frowning won't get you elected.

11. Motivate and inspire your audience. Give them a feeling of hope for the future.

12. If you want to keep getting what you're getting, keep doing what you're doing. If you want your results to improve, then change what you're doing.

13. Be positive! Always!

14. Be driven by your vision.

15. Listen to as many motivational and inspirational audio tapes/cds as possible. You'll learn a lot about the dynamics of public speaking.

16. Listen to great political speeches. Some good examples are Paul Wellstone, Bobby Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Winston Churchill, JFK, J. D. Hayworth, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others.

17. Don't be in this for yourself. Don't be in this for personal gain nor yet for power. Don't be in this for fame or fortune. If you don't truly care about making this a better Minnesota, then get out of the race now.

18. Keep your nose clean. Don't try to fool the Campaign Finance Board. Don't try to sneak around behind your husband's or wife's back. We all know that these things become public sooner rather than later.

19. Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.

20. Be of good cheer. Be of good motivation. Be of good integrity.

Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do.   ---Norman Vincent Peale

Go to Craig Valentine's website and watch the two videos; listen to the three audios. Craig Valentine is the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking. Since then he's been a speech coach and an inspirational and motivational speaker. He speaks all over the world.

Good luck to everyone!

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