When Meeting with a Public Official or Legislator

  1. Leave enough time between appointments, so that appointments can be kept.

  2. Be on time, keep your appointment at all costs, or call ahead to let the official’s office know that you will be late.

  3. Introduce yourself.

  4. Shake hands, be the first to extend your hand.

  5. Smile, let some personality show through.

  6. Make eye contact as best you can.

  7. Thank legislator or official for granting the time, thank him/her for something, past support etc.

  8. Get down to business, don’t waist the official’s time.

  9. State issue or bill number up front.

  10. State your case and how the action, change in policy, or legislation will meet the intent, and what proposed action you are asking of the official or legislator.

  11. Stick to the topic, don’t wander, don’t fill in with too much detail.

  12. If you are asked a question which you don’t know the answer, respond I don’t know, but I will find out, and I will get back to you.

  13. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into arguments, just state your position. Never threaten or be argumentative.

  14. If you can back up your point with a story or antic dote, do so, but make sure that it’s to the point and brief.

  15. Ask if the official, legislator, or aid has any questions.

  16. Leave appropriate materials. Make sure as much as possible that the materials get into the appropriate hands, and absolutely include your or your chapter’s contact information is included.

  17. Don’t forget to do the follow up.

  18. Write notes about your visit, or if involved in a legislative visit, Fill out an evaluation form as soon as possible. If you allow time to go by after your visit before taking notes, or wait until all legislative visits are complete, you will find that you won’t remember what the official said or which legislator said what.

Following Up with an Official or Legislator After a Visit

  1. Write a thank you note to everyone you visit.

  2. Schedule a follow up visit or call within six to eight weeks to monitor progress of the action or legislation.

  3. Make sure that materials promised during your initial visit have been provided. Makes a good excuse to get back in contact again.

  4. Make sure to get the official or legislators contact information including street and email address so that an easy note can be dropped at any time.

  5. Remember the goals, both to promote an action or piece of legislation, but just as importantly to build an ongoing relationship.

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