Do you have an upcoming visit with an elected official in your area? These tips can help you have a productive and effective meeting.
|Do learn as much as you can about members — their committee assignments, specialties and interests.
|Don’t overload an advocacy visit with too many issues.
|Do use data or cases to help tell your story.
|Don’t overstate your case. Members are very busy and you’re apt to lose their attention if you are too wordy.
|Do relate to situations in his/her home district.
|Don’t be argumentative. Speak calmly to avoid putting the individual you’re advocating to on the defensive.
|Do ask the member’s position on your issues or other issues.
|Don’t confront, threaten, pressure or beg.
|Do ask why s/he voted a particular way on certain legislation.
|Don’t make promises you can’t deliver.
|Do show openness to counterarguments and respond to them.
|Don’t be afraid to take a stand on issues.
|Do admit to things you don’t know. Offer to try to find out the answer and send information back to the office as soon as possible.
|Don’t be put off by smokescreens or long-winded answers. Bring the member back to the point. Maintain control of the meeting.
|Do spend time developing relationships with staff.
|Don’t shy away from meetings with legislators whose views oppose yours.
|Do send a thank-you letter to members and staff after meeting.
|Don’t be offended if a member is unable to meet with you personally and requests that you meet with a staff person.