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.


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