Art reflects life, and life reflects art … Right? Business and politics have a similarly weird and parallel relationship, and the excitement lies in competition. The chase for new business (or the nomination) can be an intoxicating one. When things go your way, you rejoice. When you lose, it hurts.
How you talk about yourself sets an important tone when nurturing client relationships. It’s the “persuasion dance” – the artful balance between not talking too much about your accolades and capabilities, while still communicating your tireless ability to understand your clients’ problems. Switch out “clients” with “supporters” and “business” with “votes” and you have the basic objective of any political campaign.
Any election year has abundant media coverage and sound bites intentionally and deliberately crafted by candidates’ PR teams. Marketers and communicators in every sector live that daily (no matter the stage of the election cycle). Exploring angles and approaches of persuasion for 2016’s election cycle could populate a blog for months (and will probably will for some thought leaders). I’d like to propose that one approach disappear forever: Mudslinging.
It may seem obvious that professional communicators should be above such an ugly tactic. But the ubiquitousness of mudslinging may gradually wear down our collective sensitivity, to the point that it might even be argued as savvy PR.
Let’s not let that happen. Mudslinging cheapens our craft, and we have the power to set the impressive, authoritative tone in our work that says so. Let’s keep our eyes ahead and focused on continued work with clients while attracting new ones, using performance metrics as a means of self-awareness and self-improvement. Competition will never go away, and the excitement that comes with it will sometimes captivate us, but remaining ambivalently dismissive of the competition can help accomplish a lot more than resorting to elementary-level playground taunts.
If we can set aside the mudslinging, hopefully our politicians can, too.