Campaign consultants Jennie Blackton and John Del Cecato led a panel on the tips and tricks of creating and executing a successful campaign strategy at Campaigns & Elections' "The Art of Political Campaigning" conference last week.

Blackton enthusiastically highlighted the aspects of effective speech delivery, or what she called “structured schmoozing,” where candidates articulate their solutions and experience on a particular issue during speeches while simultaneously keeping the audience’s full attention.

She also encouraged those who may be considering a run for office to seek local and state offices because it is easier to facilitate change at the local level.

“States can still do something about the stupid things the feds do,” Blackton said. “The feds can hurt you, but he state can kill you.”
Blackton decided to test the audience on their listening skills when she snagged an unsuspecting attendee from Toronto and made him give a speech using the techniques she presented in her discussion. He spoke, not surprisingly, about healthcare, both in the U.S. and in Canada.

Del Cecato, a Democratic consultant from AKPD, picked up where Blackton left off and talked about his idea of “Remedy v. Replica,” a campaigning technique that a candidate can use to make him or herself more relatable and attractive to voters. Rather than replicating strict party agendas, a candidate should focus on promoting their unique solutions and project the image of an “uncommon” candidate. Campaigning is simpler, according to Del Cecato, if the candidate is not trying to be the foil to his or her opponent.

“It’s a lot easier hill to climb if you prove you’re not the typical politician,” Del Cecato said.

He also demonstrated how AKPD used research and image projection to develop ads for the primaries and general elections in the Obama campaign.

Anna Chambers is an editorial intern at C&E.