Master Your Message Blog

Picking a Leader for Mayor

The Importance of Presentation Structure

Last week in Calgary, I attended the first Mayoralty race candidate introduction – somewhat of a “town hall” type of situation. Since our current mayor is “retiring,” we have a full slate of contenders. The count at the time of this gathering was fourteen, eleven of whom were on hand. I suspect we’ll see even more candidates announced before nominations close on September 20, 2010.

The afternoon gathering reminded me of a Toastmasters meeting. Each candidate got 5 minutes to introduce themselves and state their case. There was even a timer light (obviously borrowed from Toastmasters) which provided a green, yellow and red visual time cue to the contenders.

Tough situation in which to make your mark. We saw everything from a “this is all about me” speech to a rambling presentation that I’m sure would have gone on for 15 minutes, if allowed. In my opinion, there was nobody that stood out as a leader. But there could have been.

What makes this of particular concern is that we appear to be in somewhat of a crisis. Spending has gone somewhat out of control and when the auditor questioned some of the numbers, the auditor  got fired by the current mayor. So there are rumours of some amount of impropriety. Now, this is a city of approximtely 1,300,000  so we’re not talking small numbers.

We need a leader.

A leader is someone who is clear-headed, focussed, a good communicator and highly logical in their approach. There is a simple structure to a short speech like this and this is it:

  • Problem – (30 secs) paint a picture of what the issue is
  • Credentials – (30 secs) why are you the one who can solve the problem?
  • Solution – (30 secs or less) Just an overall statement or paragraph of what needs to be done (including a major benefit to the audience – VERY important) – what does it mean to them?
  • Why – (3 mins) What are the things you would do in support of the solution, point by point – numbering them is a really good idea
  • Summary (30 secs) – Reiterate the problem, the solution and ask for the order: “Vote for me for Mayor”

Nobody did this.

A leader would have. Everybody would have “got it.” And that person would have stood tall against the competition.

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