Politicians have been criss-crossing Canada in a national election campaign. But according to one university student, they’re missing a big point. When asked for his opinion on radio, the student replied all the leaders ever talk about is themselves. Their campaigns were the ‘I’m-better-than-the other-guy’ variety. The student’s basic complaint was they never answer the question ‘What are you going to do for us?’
This is the most important question any politician or speaker must answer. Every listener wants to know ‘What’s in it for me?’ Answer that, and you’ve got the keys to the kingdom.
In fairness to the politicians, they have told us what they’re going to do for us. All the parties have released their platforms. So why doesn’t the student (and many other jaded Canadians) get it? Ah, that’s part two of answering the question of what’s in it for me.
You can have the best answer in the world – but if you can’t deliver it convincingly, the audience simply won’t believe it. Obviously the student didn’t understand the potential benefits for him. Perhaps there were none for students.
In any case, the politicians lost a vote here because, first, they didn’t satisfactorily answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question. And second, if they did try to offer an answer, they didn’t make the message stick.
The bottom line, one vote lost. In this campaign no one can afford that.
Neil Everton has distilled a lifetime’s experience with some of the world’s top news organizations into his Media Mastery training aids for anyone worried about talking to reporters. The video, books, e-books and workbooks are available in the Podium Coaching online store.