I spent much of the weekend listening to presidential candidates as they made their last stop through Iowa before today’s caucuses. It was nice to embrace the frenzy instead of merely being annoyed with it, and to listen to what our potential leaders had to say.

It also was striking to listen to four candidates within 20 hours. Such proximity to each other really served to highlight the differences and make comparisons much more obvious. It helped me know who I wanted to caucus for, and who I definitely did not, in ways that did not have such clarity before I saw them in person.

We’re all but finished with the Iowa run so all of the candidates have their stump speech down pat. One candidate pontificated about nothing (in my opinion!), while another had a six-point plan outlined on a handout. 

But it got me thinking about what I would say if I had about 20 minutes to woo a crowd. If you had to stump through the state to earn your next job, what would you say — and, just as telling, how would you say it?  One candidate was casual, another formal; one in a coffeehouse, another in an airplane hangar. And who would come before you?  One candidate had a heavily-tattooed veteran play a heavy-metal rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, one had a pulpit-beating social activist, while another just started walking up to people and talking to them.  

How would you present yourself — and would that be different if you were truly trying to represent who you were vs. doing what you thought the voters wanted to hear?  Whether or not you are on the ballot, every day you are de facto campaigning.  Remember that delivering your message with authenticity and integrity is the only way to win.

— beth triplett

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