Tips for a Successful Advocacy Meeting
Before Your Meeting
Be sure to contact NLC in advance of your meeting. In many cases, NLC can provide you with resources and background information on federal policy issues. In addition, NLC's advocacy can be more effective when it's coordinated with your efforts as a constituent and NLC's advocacy team is aware of your advocacy activities and the feedback you receive from legislators.
Research your member of Congress prior to your meeting, regardless of whether your meeting is with a staff advisor or the legislator. Use www.congress.gov to research your legislator's background, as well as the committees he or she serves on and the legislation he or she has cosponsored. If you plan to discuss a particular bill during your meeting, try and find out your legislator's position in advance, and be prepared to frame your discussion around his or her perspective.
Finally, be ready to present your case clearly and concisely. Be familiar with any materials you are bringing. Your meeting may only last fifteen minutes, so be sure to have your "elevator speech" prepared.
During Your Meeting
Make sure to follow these guidelines to have the most productive lobbying meeting possible:
- Be punctual - arrive about 10 minutes in advance.
- Be prepared - have your business card and the name of the person with whom you are meeting ready.
- Be flexible - your meeting may be short or long, with a legislator or a staff member, in the member's office or in a quiet hallway.
- Be courteous - treat all staff with respect and do not be combative, even if you disagree with your legislator's position.
- Be brief - introduce yourself and your position, briefly explain your issue, and discuss how it is relevant to your legislator's state or district. Keep your discussion to one or two issues only.
- Be diligent - collect business cards and follow up after the meeting with additional information or answers to questions.