3 consulting skills I used in campaigning

💌 Newsletter

2024 is a big election year, the biggest in history. 60 countries, representing 4 billion people, will hold elections.

One of the elections close to my heart: the European elections.

A few months ago, I shared my 9 lessons from managing the 2019 European elections for Volt Europa in Germany.

I had never managed an election campaign before. Actually, none of us had campaigning experience. And so we leveraged the experiences that we had from doing other stuff... start-ups, international development, banking, PR etc.

For me, that was primarily management consulting.

3 consulting skills, in particular, helped me in campaign management:

  • Thinking drives doing. Do things purposively, not randomly. 'Because s/he said so' is not a good reason. Testing a hypothesis is a good reason. We tested campaign tactics 1 year before the election date. In the process we discarded cumbersome campaign metrics, prioritized tactics that worked well for our teams, and gained experience. Campaigning can be such a high-energy buzz that you can easily be swept away by the next good idea and forget about being strategic.
  • Top-down communication. Get to the point. State the problem, then the solution, and finally your reasons (and facts) supporting the solution. Nobody has time for long-winded text and explanations. Do others a favour and respect their time: invest some of your own time upfront to be crystal-clear about what you have to say. Volunteers, your team, donors, partners, and journalists will thank you.
  • Perhaps biggest of all, is not a skill: a can-do mentality. You have no idea how to do something initially, but you trust in your ability to figure things out. You don't have to be the expert, but you probably have solved other complex problems before, you know how to do research, involve experts, run basic analyses. Campaign management needs generalist problem-solving & communication skills more than knowing the latest TicToc viral tactic.

Next week, I'll share the 3 mistakes I made.

🎙️ My latest podcast

🥳 New episode... with the lead candidate for the Portuguese parliamentary elections 2024, Inês Bravo Figueiredo.

Insights on:

  • snap elections
  • fast learning
  • handling perfectionism
  • being in the spotlight
  • approaching citizens for genuine conversations
  • dealing with discontent/angry people

Enjoy! 👇

Inês Bravo Figueiredo - Campaigning in snap elections
About my guest Inês Bravo Figueredo is the lead candidate for the snap parliamentary elections in Portugal in March 2024 for the party Volt Portugal. Inês has a background in business intelligence and data analytics and founder of the company Zarnie Analytics. She led the Policy team of Volt Europa

📚 What I read & listen to

In a way, we are negotiating more often than we think. It's not just negotiating a salary raise. It's asking someone for a favour, a request to a colleague, letting your boss know you have too much on your plate.

This is the book on negotiation, written by the former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss. Completely shifted my understanding of negotiation: it's less the hard bargaining and more the showing of empathy. Less the rational give-and-take, more the emotional 'I see you'.

Beside a shift in perspective, this book is full of practical tips:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life…
A former FBI hostage negotiator offers a new, field-tes…

🖋️ My favourite quote

"People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures." F.M. Alexander