As part of my networking activities, I joined the local Chamber of Commerce. We are lucky to have a very strong, active Chamber and the staff in the office do a great job to keep business people in Medina involved and informed. This morning we had our Meet the Candidates for all the local races. I will confess – in the past, the local politics hasn’t been as important to me because my work took place in a different city, the majority of my clients were in other states, and my general outlook was on bigger areas. Now that my work centers where I live, I find local issues more important. And with an easy way to get information, it is crazy not to be involved.
So today for the first time in eight years, I met the local politicians. There are some interesting races in that where I live there are four people running for two spots on the board of trustees. Three were there and I got to speak to them one on one and as a group (small towns are great, aren’t they?). The fourth guy who didn’t show will clearly not get my vote. It doesn’t matter how much I read about him, I saw the passion in the faces of the three people I met. I feel like I can successfully judge their abilities to get things done and to focus on the right things. Of the three, we have one individual who started on the board the same month and year I WAS BORN. I didn’t tell him that, but it was a crazy thing to think that I am the physical embodiment of his political career. As we talked, he was greeted by many in the room and really knew the history of the township. The second individual has served for four years. He talked about how much he enjoys the area and how interesting the board is. He certainly knew what is going on and I was able to update my husband on several things we had wondered about but didn’t know who to ask. The third person is brand new to the board and is focused on communicating through technology. He is concerned there isn’t enough information for the residents and has created a LinkedIn group as well as a website to get information out there.
So why is all this relevant here? First, if you don’t show up, it is hard for people to know you. As you are reaching out to customers, you gotta be where they are. Period. Second, there is nothing different in campaigning than marketing. The two guys currently on the board just wanted to get back to work. Not saying they didn’t present themselves well or give me the time, but they have things at the office pulling on their attention and the truth is, they didn’t want to have to try to get back their jobs. The third guy is new and is excited. His enthusiasm came through before anything else and his embracing new technologies has an appeal in certain circles. So who are you? Are you the guy with the history who knows why things are they way they are and can give your customers a grounded perspective? Are you the guy who knows his way around but still has more to learn? Or are you the newbie who is excited to be there and brings new ideas to the table? Is there any way you can be all three? I told one of them what they were doing was no different than the marketing I do every day. We are all running for office this November!