A relationship with your representatives takes time and is built on trust. You may not always agree with your representatives, or they agree with you. However, if you consistently keep your word, follow through, and act in a professional manner, your opinion will always count. Here are some tips for conducting an effective face-to-face meeting:
- Always be prompt, and be conscious of your time allotment
- Introduce yourself and anyone with you, and explain the purpose of the visit
- Offer 1-2 reasons why this issue is important to you and why you are a credible advocate
- Be concise
- Ask for what you want
- Offer ways you can help the representative help you obtain your goals
- Leave information about the issue
- Explain how supporting this issue will affect their district constituents, both residential and business.
- Be courteous, polite and professional
- Offer to follow-up on any information you might not have at that moment and follow through on your commitment
- Say thank you, and follow-up with a thank you letter
- Be late
- Be argumentative or condescending
- Offer information you cannot back up
- Take too much time
- Get angry or yell
- Be disorganized
- Allow side issues to hijack the agenda
- Forget to have everyone in your party speak
- Condemn other legislators
Often, your representatives will ask their staff to meet with you. Do not be slighted by this. Elected officials have great faith in their staffs.
The most important factor as you build trust with your elected officials is to keep your word at all times – never mislead or lie.
With each new visit to your representatives, you’ll see how effective you can become. Meeting face-to-face is a great way to Take Action!