Step 5: Finding your voice - offline & online

"Any activity undertaken by individuals and organisations 'that has the intent or effect of influencing government action—either directly by affecting the making or implementation of public policy or indirectly by influencing the selection of people who make those policies.'" -  Verba, Schlozman, and Brady

"Any activity undertaken by individuals and organisations 'that has the intent or effect of influencing government action—either directly by affecting the making or implementation of public policy or indirectly by influencing the selection of people who make those policies.'" - Verba, Schlozman, and Brady

Stepping onto the political stage means finding - and using - your political voice. In practice, this means a variety of things, including figuring out what you're speaking about, where you’re using your voice, and who you’re speaking to, among a host of other questions. In 2019, it also means establishing your political voice not only in offline fora, but often online as well - surely no small task.

In this great article sharing 10 tips for finding your political voice, Tabby Biddle writes: “I believe that as women on a personal growth path, we need to start using our voices in the political arena. In other words, we need to start leading the conversations, instead of just following them (or running away from them).” We wholeheartedly agree - and as a woman in the process of standing for election, this is especially important. In the process of finding your political voice, here are some key questions worth spending some time to think through:

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  • What are the topics you’re talking about most? (Are they connected to your political purpose, by chance?) Are they or do they need to be aligned with your party?

  • What does your political voice sound like? Is it formal or informal? Is it different online than in real life? What type of language do you use?

  • Who are you speaking to - voters, media, other politicians, etc.? How might your voice - what you’re saying and where - change for different audiences?

  • Where are you having your voice heard? At panel discussions, hustings, debates, events? On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or a blog?

  • Do you have strategies to balance using your voice with self-care and boundary-setting, and to step away from your voice when you feel you need to?

 
“1. Dream big. 2. Be honest about your calling. 3. Know your people. 4. Recognise the transformation. 5. Value your experience. 6. Let go of formality. 7. Don't make it complicated. 8. Be witnessed. 9. Write regularly. 10. Step into the spotlight.” = Table Biddle, Huffington Post. Photo of a young woman turned around, with the back of her head visible.

“1. Dream big. 2. Be honest about your calling. 3. Know your people. 4. Recognise the transformation. 5. Value your experience. 6. Let go of formality. 7. Don't make it complicated. 8. Be witnessed. 9. Write regularly. 10. Step into the spotlight.” = Table Biddle, Huffington Post. Photo of a young woman turned around, with the back of her head visible.

 

In the following videos former Newham councillor and founder of Glitch UK Seyi Akiwowo and Louise Haigh, MP share their experiences of public voice, presence, and resilience.

“[Social media] is great to meet your residents as well, or people you’re looking to elect you hopefully or keep in touch with those who have elected you.” -Seyi Akiwowo, former Councillor for Newham and founder, Glitch UK

“[Social media] is great to meet your residents as well, or people you’re looking to elect you hopefully or keep in touch with those who have elected you.” -Seyi Akiwowo, former Councillor for Newham and founder, Glitch UK

 
“MPs are so much more accessible, and we’re able to have so much more reach - and feedback from our constituents - than ever in the past.” - Louise Haigh, MP

“MPs are so much more accessible, and we’re able to have so much more reach - and feedback from our constituents - than ever in the past.” - Louise Haigh, MP


Now that you’ve begun to find your personal political voice, it’s time to surround yourself with the people who will support you on your journey. We’re moving on to Step #6: Building your team.