Tips on Scheduling an In-Person Meeting with Your Elected Official
Letters and phone calls are effective, but not as effective as meeting one-on-one. Meeting your elected official in person is a great way to have a real impact on an issue, and ensures that your perspective is heard!
- Make an appointment early! Elected officials maintain busy calendars, so making an appointment ensures that you will have the opportunity to speak to someone. Give at least two to four weeks advance notice.
- Make an appointment by calling the elected official’s office and requesting to speak to the scheduler.
- Let the scheduler know that you are a member of the elected official’s district and what issue or specific legislation you wish to speak about.
- Be prepared: Know what you want to say and what you want the result of meeting to be. Practice ahead of time in front of the mirror and other people.
- Dress appropriately and arrive on time, but don’t expect your legislator to arrive on time. They’re busy and may have multiple meetings in a row.
- Always be courteous.
- Your meeting will be brief. Prepare a three-minute speech (or shorter) to give to each lawmaker and decision-maker you are meeting with.
- Tell them why the issue is important to you, and what the solution is. Make sure you “make the ask.” Be prepared to ask the staffer or elected official to support the specific issue or piece of legislation.
- Depending on the legislator’s availability, you may meet with a staff member instead of the elected official the elected official. Staff is trained to hear constituent concerns and will relay those to your elected official.
- Thank them for their time. If you meet with the staff person, indicate you will look forward to a response from the elected official.
- Always send a thank-you note.