Crafting Your Message - National Democratic Training Committee

Crafting Your Message

By Erin Vilardi
75 min

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use storytelling to effectively communicate with any audience
  • How to craft your campaign’s core message using storytelling
  • How to draft a standard, 3-minute version of your stump speech
  • How to stick to your message, whether you’re speaking to a group of supporters or the media

Why This is Important

Before you can start talking to voters and soliciting support, you need to know what you’re going to say to them — you need to develop your core message!

Key Resources

  • Finding Your Stories Worksheet — a place to brainstorm and articulate the stories you’ll use on the campaign trail
  • Finding Your Why Worksheet — drill down into why you’re running for office, this is the basis for your campaign message
  • Core Message Rubric — get an assessment of and feedback on your draft message
  • Annotated Stump Speech Example
  • Staying on Message Prompts — questions a friend can ask you to help practice sticking to your message

Related Trainings

Erin Vilardi


Founder & Executive Director, VoteRunLead

Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, a national organization leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VoteRunLead as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office and civic life, training over 15,000 women.

Erin has served as a leadership development consultant for a range of clients, including the Yahoo! Business and Human Rights division and Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she developed the Athena CORE10©, an innovative set of leadership competencies for 21st century women leaders based on the latest research and gender analysis. She has worked with a diverse range of clients including Fortune 100 companies, global girls initiatives and the U.S. Department of State, reaching women leaders in a dozen international cities.

Erin serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Meets World, the New American Leaders Project, and is on the Leadership Teams of Vision2020 and Political Parity. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards' Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Fox News and her work was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic articles on women and leadership.