HomeSC WIL Online Leadership CoursesElected Office CourseLesson: Developing your Message

“My name is ___________________ , and I am running for office to _________________________.”

Why are you running for office and why should people vote for you?

Communicate the issues you care about, the problems you wish to solve, and what sets you apart from other candidates. 

  • Your why needs to be extremely specific.
    • How will you make a difference?
    • Why are you running? 
    • What are the issues you care about, the problems you wish to solve, the change you demand?
  • Use simple language
  • Use your words/be authentic – don’t try to be someone you’re not
  • Don’t say everything, just the most important thing(s)
  • The rule of 3: groups of three items are more memorable, emotionally resonant, and persuasive than simply one or two. 
  • Nix the numbers/stats. People remember stories and examples, not statistics.
  • Connect your concerns to theirs using stories and examples
  • Weave bio details in/master the 3 sentence bio
  • Prepare and practice

TIP: If you want to connect with an audience, be funny, frank, and fast!

Christy Cox, Owner, C3 Comms shares insight from her more than three decades of experience writing speeches.
Richland County Councilwoman Chakisse Newton on developing a consistent message. (1 min. 26 sec. watch)


Understanding why you are running for office and what you care about will help you connect with voters throughout your campaign. Answer the questions on the interactive Why am I running? worksheet to help pinpoint your passion and purpose for service.

Additional Resources:

Know Your Why Tip Sheet (Vote Run Lead) When you decide to run for office one of the questions you will hear most often is, “Why?”. It’s critical that you know, and can articulate, why you are running. Use these tips to reflect on what you are running for.

Books to inspire the leader in you:

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