Election lessons learned

And so it ends, with around 80 more votes than I ever thought I’d get. Looking at the analysis, Sarah was only three first preference votes short of a majority without the transferable votes anyway (you may want to read Kevin Taylor’s post on how the voting works), so congratulations to her and everyone else elected to Council for 2017 & 2018. Commiserations to Emma and everyone else who came up short.

If you’re thinking of standing for President-Elect in 2017, here’s my advice based on my experience of this campaign.

Don’t read the Regulations

Well, maybe the once. But don’t stress about them. Unlike real-world elections, CIPR members are still covered by the Code of Conduct, which means you shouldn’t be saying or doing anything to bring the Chartered Institute into disrepute. That said, there were a few times when I thought candidates were playing fast and loose with the regulations, and I did disagree with someone as to whether a candidate had broken the rules – proof has to trump suspicion, after all.

Don’t believe the hype

“It’s great to have three candidates this year, turnout will be so much higher.”

Bollocks it will. We live in a PR bubble.

The elections only appeal to the engaged, and we already knew not enough members are engaged – it’s one of the reasons I was standing, to try and improve that. Not everyone knows who you are – you have to work to raise your profile. I knew it would a hard task against Emma and Sarah, which is why I took to the debate and video, as they would be the best ways for me to address the electorate directly. Of course, there weren’t that many in the room and as I write it has had 150 views on YouTube.

For those interested: my video had 139 views, Emma’s 304, Sarah’s 223. Little correlation with the result there.

Get your head down and campaign hard.

Don’t get the wrong endorsement

Sarah was endorsed by the head of a rival PR body. Emma was endorsed by the next CIPR President. In both cases, those endorsements would have alienated certain sections of the electorate; those who think we’re heading for a merger showdown, those who think elections are a stitch-up. A basic political rule is “how will this endorsement make me look?” while another rule would be to mention to the candidate in question that you’re going to do it.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a couple of people I would have liked an endorsement from, but I would never have asked them. I was and remain immensely grateful to the people who nominated me, some of whom pitched up and drummed up some support for me. But I didn’t even get my own Group to endorse me (I thought they were, but it never made it into the minutes to give to the Returning Officer).

Don’t take it personally

I stand by my beliefs. If people vote for me, good for them If they don’t they don’t. More fool you. Carry on regardless, stand again if you feel like it but definitely carry on. But elections aren’t a popularity contest. Ahem.

Don’t worry that you could have done better

Of course you could have done better, you silly goose – you could have won and been elected!

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