Elizabeth McGlynn at Professional Pageant Preparation, LLC, answers your questions about choosing your platform!
Q: What is your advice to a contestant new to MAO/MAOTeen about choosing and establishing a platform? Does my platform have to be marketable or just be something I am interested in?
Selecting a platform can be intimidating. Think about your personal reason(s) as to why you volunteer in your community. Perhaps it relates to a family member or friend. Choose something you are passionate about–and yet, has to matter and be marketable to the general population! For example, being passionate about keeping the arts program in your school system is definitely important to your High school, give it a broader base. How is it important to all students across the state or the country to keep these programs in schools?
Q: What is the most common mistake you see when it comes to platforms? What are the judges and directors looking for in a platform?
The most common mistake: Having a great idea and doing nothing toward implementing it. Think of creating your platform in three steps:
First: Determine the cause you want to become involved with and why it is important to you. Judges want to know why you selected your particular platform issue, and having a personal reason tells the judges you just didn’t come up with this three weeks ago in order to have a ‘platform’ for a pageant.
Second: You MUST have done something for your platform. Look back at the community service you have already done. Most girls find they have a ‘platform’ because of the amount of community service already completed. Schedule speaking engagements at every opportunity before schools, church or civic groups wherever your message might be best received and develop your own materials, literature, or programs to support your platform. Even if you have only done one thing, this shows judges and directors you are taking definitive steps to get your platform started.
Third: Have a plan of action for the future like events to take place. Create a website showcasing your events and plans with links to national organizations related to your particular platform. Have a clear idea of how to involve others and look ahead to see what you could accomplish in the broader picture if you go on to the state or national level working in partnership with the backing of your local or state board behind you.
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