Browse Category: Getting Selected

Getting Selected – Daily Politics Show

Getting Selected as a Parliamentary Candidate

BBC 2’s Daily Politics had a small feature on Getting Selected as a Parliamentary Candidate. They interviewed me for this on Monday and the feature was broadcast on Daily Politics broadcast yesterday – 06.11.2012.

I am very seldom found in front of the camera and it was a great reminder of how scary this experience can be. It also highlighted the need for preparation. I offer my clients a “warm-up” telephone service when they are about to go live – I could have done with that sort of service before I went live here.

I help people who want to become Conservative Parliamentary candidates to pass the Parliamentary Assessment Board (the PAB), political candidates to get selected and of course election campaigns. These services include polling services, online campaigning, political websites, speechwriting, campaign management and more.

Here are some of the other political services I offer and here are some of the campaigns, elections and selections I have have been part of politically.

The Getting Selected process is often as tough or even tougher than the Getting Elected process. In the 2010 General Election, 72 of my personal 1-2-1 clients were selected as Conservative Parliamentary Candidates.

34 of them are now MPs.

Of the 72 candidates, 59 achieved swings of 6% or more. Of these 59 candidates:-

  • 23 achieved swings in excess of 7%
  • 14 achieved swings in excess of 8%
  • 8 achieved swings in excess of 9%
  • 3 achieved swings in excess of 10%
  • 1 achieved a swing of over 14%

Public Speaking Tips: Take Your Job Seriously, Not Yourself!

Public Speaking Tips: Take your job seriously, not yourself!

Public speaking tips are usually about getting things right. But what happens when it all goes horribly wrong? Lets face it – we all screw up from time to time. Sometimes we win by winning, sometimes by screwing up less than the competition.

When I was a tennis coach, Ian Barclay (who was Pat Cash’s coach) was coaching a group of us in Johannesburg. One of his standard pieces of advice was “Winning is easy – all you have to do is get the ball over the net one (just one) time more than the other guy.”

So what should you do when it does all go wrong?

Admit it, keep the mood of the audience with you, smile and enjoy the moment. Stay confident and calm and in control. You may even turn your imperfection, your humanity into a plus. Do not take yourself seriously!!! (Of course having a sense of humour helps!).

It is the people who take themselves seriously, or worse too seriously, who quickly become the butt of jokes. People love laughing at the pompous and the self important. Be likeable and be human. When the technology fails, or you forget what you are saying or your place in your speech – you will need all the friends you can get.

Everybody wants to give a passionate speech – why do so many people fail?

Everybody wants to give a passionate speech – why do so many people fail?

There is a problem with wanting to give passionate speeches. If you want to give a passionate speech, you have to follow the rule of giving passionate speeches. The rule says you have to be passionate about what you are speaking about. Most people are not.

Unless it matters to them personally. Which is why personal narratives and storytelling in speeches are so powerful. Real passion is genuine and cannot be faked. Watch this Labour politician, Australian PM Gillard, and compare her with the manufactured “passion” of Tony Blair.

My mother would have seen herself as small “c” Conservative. She could smell BS several miles away. She would have stood up and applauded this woman. She would have been downright rude about Tony Blair.

Plastic rants and tirades are tactics and lies. Real politicians are those who give a damn about what they are saying and what they are doing. They are real and authentic and coherent. They are compelling and credible because they are so close to the edge. Think about this – this YouTube video has been viewed over 1.29 million times in 4 days. That is what happens when speeches are authentic and they resonate with people.

A friend, who I like and respect, called this speech unstatemanslike. I wish there more speeches like this – more fire in the belly of our politicians of all sides. More fiery speeches about things that matter to people. And balancing that – more compromise and cross-party cooperation and non-politicking and no or less cheap-political-point-scoring when there is broad consensus.

Some may say that this speech is political point scoring. I urge you to watch it and make up your own mind. I have seem loads of point scoring in my life – don’t think this is it.

Getting Selected CCHQ criteria for Conservative candidates.

Getting Selected CCHQ criteria for wannabe candidates

Getting Selected is the second barrier for wannabe MPs. The first is the PAB or Parliamentary Assessment Board. The Conservative Party take this selection very seriously and have established key criteria. These are skills and attributes that need to be evidenced by wannabe candidates during the 5-6 stages of the PAB.

The PAB is now a 6-7 hour, one day, event. I preferred the old format of 2 days with a stay over. This  was very useful as it used to weed out (some of) the future bad headlines. It is always very educational to see people after they have had a drink or four!

However the PAB does still have bear traps for those who are unprepared. I know experienced campaigners who have failed the PAB – although I know that they are good people and decent campaigners.

Often those who fail the PAB complain that it was because they do not tick the right boxes – blaming their failure on some sort of positive discrimination. I am not so sure. Yes, there are criteria that CCHQ has set out, but they are not based on sexuality, colour or age. It is possible that these rebuffed candidates have not adequately and convincingly shown that they possess the skills and characteristics and attributes that CCHQ have set out.

So for the sake of those doing their PAB in October or November, I have set out the new and old criteria for wannabe candidates. The two lists are very similar and you have pretty much a whole day to show that you possess them.

The old criteria to be evidenced were:

  • Intellectual skill
  • Campaigning
  • Conviction
  • Communication
  • Relating to people
  • Resilience and Drive
  • Leadership and Motivation

Apparently the new criteria that must be evidenced are:

  • Energy and Commitment
  • Campaign leadership and motivation
  • Conviction
  • Manner and attitude
  • Depth and Intellect
  • Communication and ability to relate to people
  • Commitment to inclusion and diversity

If you would like to enquire about my Getting Selected or Getting Elected courses or would like to prepare for your PAB – please do give me a call. These courses are only open to those who can evidence that they have already been accepted for a PAB or are already on the candidates list.

The 8 Point Cheats Check List to Improving or Crafting Your Speech in 5 minutes.

The 8 Point Cheats Check List to Improving or Crafting Your Speech in 5 minutes.

Giving a speech is important – otherwise why do it? So of course you should take the time to write it, book in more time to practice it and give your speech time to bake in your head. Then reality intervenes and messes it all up! So for all those speechwriters and speechmakers who are put on the spot at short notice and the others (very stern look in your direction because I have obviously never been in your shoes!) too lazy to prepare.

  1. Do you want to inform or persuade? What must you achieve? What defines success?
  2. If you want to persuade, compare the current with your vision of the future. Use “we”.
  3. Use fresh examples and metaphors. Avoid those with lost meaning. Speak as you would to a friend.
  4. Use short sentences and words. Max 15 words per sentence and 2 syllables per word.
  5. Narrow your message to 3 key themes. They won’t remember more anyway.
  6. Identify and repeat the words that summarise your message.
  7. Never speak for more than 20 minutes. 5 is better. 3 even better.
  8. Speak slowly and confidently. Breathe slowly and deeply from your belt buckle. Stand up straight and smile.
Political Networking

Getting Selected – Conference season is work for Candidates

Political Networking

Getting Selected – Network & Be Authentic at Conference

With Party Conference season upon us, candidates and wannabe candidates are, or should be, getting their hair cut, polishing their shoes and choosing which fringe events to attend. What they do this year and over the next 12 months could change their lives for ever. They’re preparing to network for their political future.

Getting Selected – good networking

If you’re networking, you need to have a few things at the ready. You are always prepared to do this in your day job – but are you equipped to network politically too?

You need your personal or political elevator pitch or stories. Then you need your intelligent, research based questions in case you do end up being stuck next to the Chairman of your dream constituency. A decent website is essential – so they can remember who you are the next day and do some research on you. For them to remember this you also need your political business card.

Too often we forget that to be good at communication, half the battle is actually listening and asking good questions and preparation. The same is true in politics.

It is important to be and sound authentic and to listen and talk in the right ratio.

Some anxious wannabe’s try and maximise their time at conference – thinking it’s a number game – how many business cards can I get today?  They jump anxiously from one target, um – I mean person obviously, to the next, nodding jerkily but not actually listening. This rubbish approach makes their current “networking partner” feel seriously un-special. Many glance furtively at your conference pass to see if you are important and worth their time. This may be sneaky – but it NEVER goes unnoticed! Just like looking over people’s shoulders at the next target. Bad, bad, bad. Plus – everyone knows everyone in the Conservative Party – be nice, be friendly and you may gain a supporting or deciding voice.

Being authentic, having those questions ready to help you dig and actually giving a damn is key to your networking success, whether that be at Conservative Party conference, or a business seminar.

Getting Selected – How To Become A Conservative MP – Part 1

Getting Selected as a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate

Most members of the public have no idea of the work involved in becoming a parliamentary candidate. In the old days, a word in someone’s ear would result in a phone call being made to an association Chairman and things would sooner or later pretty much take their course. Those days are thankfully over.

Those who want to add the elusive, and often very temporary, initials “M.P” face more competition, more demanding selectorates and precious few new seats to apply for in 2015. With an estimated thousand plus on the candidates list, loads of new MPs who are not planning on going anywhere and the competition for seats that may actually make you an MP will be fierce.

But before that happens, you have to pass the PAB – or parliamentary assessment board. This used to be even tougher with an overnight two day version – but it is still pretty effective at identifying those who do not fulfill the very sensible list of 7 key criteria that have been set out by CCHQ. And excluding them.

Only after you have passed the PAB do you have a chance at applying for and being selected for a constituency.

Basically, you first need to apply to CCHQ – after which you will have an interview with someone from CCHQ. If you pass that, which you almost certainly will as they don’t want to alienate activists or donors yet, you will be invited to a PAB. If you pass the PAB you will be able to apply for some or any available seat – depending on whether you have a full or partial pass from CCHQ. It costs money to go on the PAB as they are self-financing.   Being on the list incurs an annual cost too.

There are indirect costs too as you will be expected to earn your right to stay on the list by being very visibly active in by-elections, local elections, referenda, PCC elections, MEP elections and anything else that comes along. Which is fair enough really – if you are an activist you would be campaigning for these anyway.

Then you need to work on your CV, your social media presence and wait for an email from CCHQ announcing the seats that are now asking for applications from people on the candidates list. Of course, there are other things you could be doing…

End of Part 1…

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