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National Candidacy

So, you want to be a national officer? If this is true, prepare yourself for a journey of a lifetime. Along this road, you will face numerous experiences that will take the crown as the best moments in your life, ones when you will truly find out who you are as a person; and of course, those moments of frustration when you just want to give up. Running for a national officer position is one of the most rewarding, yet daunting tasks you will likely face in your high school career. So let’s dive into what it takes to run for a national officer position, shall we?

Being a national officer is an elite and highly coveted position in the ranks of FBLA. Only a select few people have been able to call themselves national officers. One thing I can tell you right off the bat, is that if you want to run, it must be something you have absolutely no question about. Being a national officer, and even running for a position, is a huge responsibility and will take up a large portion of your time. It’s best to make sure that this is something you would really wish to pursue. If you find yourself unflinching in that warning, well you may just have the gusto needed to see your dreams become a reality.

At this moment you may be talking with yourself saying, “Yeah, I think I can do that, but the problem is, where do I begin?” Your journey as a potential candidate begins after you are elected into the Executive Vice President state officer position of Oregon FBLA. Due to Oregon FBLA guidelines, only members whom hold this position may run for a national officer position. Running for a state officer position is another beast all its own, so we will wait and go over it in a later article. For now, we will just talk about Post-Election foci.

Congratulations! You are now the Executive Vice President of Oregon FBLA! Now what? Now is when it begins to get serious. For the first few weeks your officer coach will set you about doing introductory tasks as a state officer to get you up to speed and help to get to know your team better. Once those first few weeks are over, it’s time to get into gear. You only have a few, very short, months until you are hopefully standing on that stage accepting your new-found national officer position. For organizational purposes, we will break the process from here down into a few areas of focus: Research, Preparation, Practice!, and Presentation.

ResearchFirst off, you need to do your research. If you want to be a leader of this organization, it will do you some good to know as much as you can about it. It is extremely important to have a good resume in FBLA. Find out things like how you can get involved, what FBLA does, and as much FBLA history as your brain can possibly hold. Some of it may seem trivial to know, but you never know when any of that information could potentially come in handy. Another great and indispensable source of knowledge is past and current officers and candidates. While they are limited on how much help they can offer you, they can help lead you in the right direction on what you may need to be successful in your campaign.

PreparationAfter you have the initial research phase out of the way, now it’s time to start getting all the necessary campaign materials together. One piece of advice that I cannot stress enough, is get help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or even your adviser, who and are an indispensable resource and can help you get everything ready. Remember, many hands make light work, or at least easier. Start focus groups and pitch your campaign theme and slogan to as many people as you can. This will help you narrow down ideas that may sound good initially. Once you settle on a theme, it’s a good idea to start looking for materials that you can use with your campaign. Remember though, your $2,000 budget will disappear quickly if you aren’t careful!

PracticeNext, we will dedicate our time to the practice portion of this whole project. This is by far one of the most important things you as a candidate can do. Once you get your speech approved and finalized, you should be practicing it any chance, to anybody, that you possible can. If you are like, “Woah, how do I write a good speech for this?” Look for our article on how to write effective speeches. In there you will find plenty of pointers and tips on how to make your speech the absolute best that you can. Making sure that you have your speech memorized is crucial. If you hesitate for even a moment on stage, it can have disastrous consequences on your chances of winning. By the time you get within about two weeks of NLC, you should be able to recite your speech backwards. Trust me this may sound a bit excessive, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having your campaign speech 150% memorized.

Still on the topic of practicing. Another make or break moment for many candidates is the dreaded Q&A session, which is thirty minutes of on-your-toes questions and answers from state representatives from all over the nation. For this, have as many people ask you as many questions as possible relating to FBLA. Try to answer them all to the best of your abilities. This part honestly just takes practice, and lots of it. As you answer more and more questions, you will find yourself answering them better and better each time. One thing to remember is to keep yourself relaxed. Try to answer with answers you are comfortable with saying and things that you yourself would believe. If you try to fluff it, it will just end up in a train wreck. Speak from your experience and what you are passionate about. For me that was telling stories while still simultaneously answering the questions. Whatever it may be, find your niche. It will help you answer these questions a lot better.

PresentationWell, it is finally time. You arrive at the NLC ready to start your campaign. You’ve worked so hard for so long, now it’s time to show the nation who you are and earn you that spot you’ve been working so hard to get. Upon arrival, you will be faced with the exhilarating yet exhausting task of campaigning. Here you will sit in your campaign booth for two seven-hour days filled with Q&A, speaking, meeting, and greeting anyone and everyone you see. The only advice I can give you here is to stay positive, find a good group of people you can count on to help you, and most of all smile. Have some fun. The hardest part is over. From here, you just have to go out and show the world who you are and what you want to do. Be you. After you nail those hard three days, it comes time for your moment of truth, Closing Session.

By now, the results are out of your control. You’ve done your best and it’s important to look back at the journey you’ve gone through to get where you are. Remember to thank all those who have been in your corner the whole time. Without their contributions, you might not have made it so far. However the results may go (hopefully in your favor!), just remember everything you have done and accomplished thus far. It is important to keep a level head even in the event of a loss. Few people have ever been able to go through the same journey as you. Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

If you made it all the way through this article, congratulations! I hope I could persuade you into at least thinking about running. If you are, well I wish you the absolute best of luck. I can assure you personally, that even despite my loss, my experience of running, is one that I would never dream of forfeiting. I hope that you, too, will be inspired and have the courage to go get your dreams, no matter what they are. Go out there and get them, and step up to the challenge today!