Face-to-Face Congressional Meetings
Be Prompt and Be Prepared
Members of Congress have hectic schedules, so you don’t have a great deal of time. Be at the office on time and take a few minutes beforehand to prepare what you want to say.
Keep Your Introductions Brief
Don’t let individual introductions consume the time you have to discuss your priorities. If you are meeting as part of a group, make sure to identify a leader to start the meeting and decide who among the group will speak. Allow your leader to briefly introduce participants. Have each person’s business card
available to leave behind after the meeting.
Be Direct, Brief and Stay on "Message"
Be clear about what you want from your legislator: What action is needed? Explain why you need your lawmaker’s support. If there is legislation, refer to it by bill number or specifically by name. Don’t get distracted. Even when your lawmaker strays off
topic, listen politely, then quickly move the discussion back to your message.
Listen and Localize
Give your lawmaker and staff the chance to ask questions--even when they do not agree. (This helps you learn the specific concerns you must address to win his/her support.) Bring the issue “home.” Tell your lawmaker how your position affects his/her district or state. Use local case examples that
humanize and put a public face on your issue. Supply facts that are relevant to the district or state to back up your position.
Recap the key points of the meeting and the action (if any) that your lawmaker has agreed to take. Leave behind a one-page fact sheet for your lawmaker and staff summarizing your position and your request. Always end the meeting by thanking your lawmaker and
staff for their time.
Follow Up and Thank Your Legislator in Writing
Write and thank your legislator and staff for their time (via e-mail). Once again, summarize the key points of your meeting. Provide any additional information that was requested including information addressing concerns raised by your lawmaker or staff at the meeting. If your lawmaker agreed to take
action on your behalf, ask for the status of that activity.