#blogjune post 13: Running for office: advice for SLA board candidates

My timeline is beginning to fill with #SLA2017 delegates getting ready for the Phoenix conference this weekend. I’m sad I won’t be attending in person this year. I will be watching from afar thanks to Twitter. SLA conferences have been an important part of my life since 2000 – the year of my first SLA conference. I’ve been to 12 of the last 17 conferences. Little did I realise in 2000 that I would get elected to the board twice & to serve as the first non-North American President in 2014. I’ve learnt so much from being involved in SLA & will miss the camaraderie of conference.

I’m also going to miss meeting the candidates running for 2018 board. Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you for agreeing to run. You are incredibly generous people to say yes.

Having run for election twice, I know what it feels like: a combination of exhilaration, fear, excitement, fun, laughter & tears. All rolled into one & on display for four full days at conference.

Here are a few of my tips on surviving campaigning at conference:
– keep hydrated, drink lots of water;
– hand out business cards to everyone; you don’t want to take any cards home;
– to keep track of who you met when, remember to write on the back of business cards you receive,
date, time & venue. This is an important one you will thank me for it;
– hone your elevator speech on why you are running, & why someone should vote for you;
– get to know the other candidates, you will be spending a lot of time together. You will develop a bond;
– pace yourself over conference by trying to attend as many meet & greet events as possible. Talk to as many people as you can at an event. Ask questions and find out what is concerning members;
– choose a few must see sessions & try to ensure you attend for your CPD.

Post conference be sure to:
– contact everyone you met, & follow up on questions or comments;
– practice for your webinars, honing your message for why you’re a great candidate;
– keep up to date on current & emerging tends across all sectors – you don’t want to be caught out when asked about your thoughts on the impact of some news story;
– take every opportunity to interact with members;
– remember you’re doing this as a volunteer, you have to find a healthy balance between work, home life & SLA.

Enjoy the experience it’s really worthwhile. You learn lots about yourself, the organisation and how it operates. Plus you’re giving something back to the profession; for which we’re all thankful.

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