If you are going to have a successful campaign, you’ve got to master three key skills. Without them, everything will be more difficult. And once you master them, you’ll find that they’ll help you be successful in just about everything you do.
Though they may seem obvious to you, honestly, I’ve found that most people don’t get them right — even very smart, experienced and capable people.
You’ve got to get good at three deceptively simple, but utterly essential skills: scheduling meetings, communicating well in emails, and recruiting top-notch volunteers.
Skill #1: Scheduling Meetings
Sounds simple, right? Nope. Not right. Here are the important practices you need to know.
Never just ask someone when they can meet. Suggest a specific date and time. Or, if you prefer, suggest two dates and times.
Take charge gently. It’ll make everything flow more smoothly and the people you are working with will come to rely on you to make their lives easier.
If you’re trying to schedule a meeting with more than three or four people, start with the most important… those who are most influential. Pick a date that suits them and then invite the rest.
I recently published a story on my personal blog that explains what can happen when scheduling a simple meeting goes wrong.
Skill #2: Writing Effective Emails
Most communication happens through emails and, as such, you need to be good at writing them. Here two some important tips.
Make the subject line clear and informative, capturing the essence of the information you are communicating. Resist the urge to be cute or clever. And if you’re forwarding or replying to a chain of emails, change the subject line if it no longer reflects your topic.
Don’t throw email bricks. What’s an email brick? It’s a long block of unbroken text. People don’t read emails like that. And they especially don’t read them when they show up on their smartphone screen.
Use short paragraphs punctuated by simple, informative headings. Assume that lots of people will only read the headings.
Skill #3: Recruiting Great Volunteers
Whatever you do, don’t put out a blanket invitation for people to agree to serve on your board or committee. You don’t want just anyone; you only want people who are going to be excellent in the roles for which you are recruiting them. You want people who are super-busy but will manage to find time to do their work. You want people of influence who will make others also want to serve.
Do your homework and identify the ideal volunteers. Then set about recruiting them in a way they won’t be able to resist.
- Let them know why they are the right people for the job.
- Tell them exactly what you are asking them to do.
- Emphasize the importance and effectiveness of the committees on which you’re asking them to serve.
You must also make sure you spell out how long their involvement will last.
If you get good at scheduling meetings, writing effective emails and recruiting volunteers — those seemingly simple tasks — your campaign will be much more likely to succeed.
And so will you!