The gladhanding *could* do you some good
One of the interesting ‘inside’ aspects of politics is the process of organizing those visits you see on TV. You know the ones – where the pollie is wearing a hardhat, or a flouro vest, or interacting with some bright and smiley children before fronting the cameras with a small group of others nodding along behind them.
On the one hand, these visits are incredible staged managed – with all participants briefed beforehand on what to say and how to say it.
On the other, you’d be surprised how ad hoc they are as well – often a staffer will come steaming in to their colleagues saying – “quick, we need to find a small business to visit next week. One with young people/older people/flouro wearing workers/etc etc”. Then the team have to scramble to find somewhere appropriate, in the right location with the right people for the right announcement. Often political offices will keep a database of potential businesses their boss has visited that they can draw on at times like this.
For the business, this visit can be a great opportunity to get across their issues and concerns to a visiting politician, raising their profile and putting themselves on the political radar. It’s a good in when something pops up in the future to be able to say to an adviser (whose mobile number you have from the time they visited) something like “I’m Megan, the owner of the florist that you visited in July.” Even as a starting point, any adviser worth their salt should be able to connect you with a relevant decision maker to listen to your concerns (federal, state or local).
So if your local pollie ever stops by to say hello, keep in mind – you never know when they might ask to come back with a Prime Minister!
(pic is from one such visit I organised many moons ago in Canberra as a Senior Adviser).