Stump speeches are basically the elevator pitch of election campaign speeches. They're the first impression the candidate makes on most voters.
They're not the speech that you would use at your rallies, but rather the speech that you would use if you are meeting a voter for the first time, or going to a public event. The stump speech is basically the heart and soul of your campaign. So, if you're talking about environmental issues in your stump speech but you are running on a platform of health care reform, you need to rethink your stump speech.
The speech itself has 5 components.
The five components of the stump speech are the introduction, the reason you're running, the three issues you are focusing on, how people can get involved and finally -- the most important part which many people forget to include -- ask people to vote for you.
Introduction: Your name, where you're from and the office you are running for
Why you’re running: A very short and to the point narrative of what made you decide to run for office
Three issues: If you have less than three issues, voters think you haven't done your homework. If you have more than three issues, voters stop listening. You need the be able define each issue clearly and briefly.
How to get involved: Provide voters with multiple ways to get in contact with your campaign including the phone number, email address, website and a staff member to talk to.
Voter for me: Always end your stump speech by asking people to vote for you.
You should be prepared with three versions of the stump speech, each based on the amount of time you have to deliver it.
The first version is the ‘introduction’ and is approximately one-minute long. It is used when you first meet voters or when you are introduced at someone else's event and asked to say a few words.
The second version is the most popular version and the one that you use all the time. The ‘two-minute stump speech’ is used whenever anyone asks you to speak at an event.
The last version is the "five-minute stump speech’ which is actually only three minutes long. This speech is used if you are speaking at a serious public event or political function where several candidates are speaking.
If you're giving an introduction speech, after one minute people need to know who you are, what you are about and how to get in contact with your campaign.
Begin with your name, where you're from, and what office you're running for. Then go into a very short background with three or four key words describing yourself ("I am the daughter of a lobsterman and a public school teacher...") This should be followed by why you're running for office (again using three or four key words). Identify each of the three main issues of your campaign but do not elaborate ("Education. The opioid epidemic. Affordable health care.") Wind down with how to find your campaign's website, contact information and social media presence and finish with the part that everyone forgets: Ask the audience to vote for you.
The two-minute speech uses the same skeleton outline as the introduction speech. Except this time, after you introduce yourself and briefly share your background, you are going to go into a little more detail about why you are running for office. Summarize the three main issues of your campaign with key words, saving the most important issue for last and speak about it in one complete sentence. Use the same closing as the introduction speech with the campaign's website, social media and contact information. Do not forget to ask the audience to vote for you.
The five-minute speech has same structure as the shorter stump speeches. Tell the audience who you are, where you're from and what office you're running for. Provide the audience with your background in one full sentence then explain why you are running for this office, again using a full sentence. Discuss each of your three main issues Introduction, who are you, where are you from, why you're running? Background is a sentence long, as sentence, followed by a full sentence about why you're running. Devote a full sentence to the importance of each of your three main issues. Again, finish off with your campaign website, social media and contact information. Most five-minute stump speeches are given at public events and you are accompanied by campaign staff. Use the opportunity to point out people from your campaign and ask people to reach out to them to get involved in your campaign. Finally, ask the audience for their vote.
When you're building this speech, you need to make sure that you have it down pat. When you commit it to memory (and you should commit it to memory), don't memorize it to the point that you know every word. Rather, memorize it to the point that you can't forget any of the words. The actual presentation of a stump speech is a performance, not a lecture. You need to get down the gestures and inflections you're going to use, and the dramatic pauses you will use. Always make eye contact with people in the audience.
Rehearse the stump speech non-stop. You need to be really good at it. You need to be able to give it in your sleep. The stump speech is the core of your campaign and you will build off of it from now until Election Day.