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Preparing for a Meeting

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Ask yourself, “What is my goal?” Are you urging the congressperson or senator to vote a certain way? If so, are you looking for their support on an issue, or their vote on a specific piece of legislation? Does this member already support our initiatives? If so, are you just thanking them, or asking them for specific forms of future leadership?

Find a Reason to Thank Them. If they’ve voted right in the past, make sure to mention that. It’s always a good idea to know your member’s voting record on the issue before you go into the meeting. Doing your research here will make the conversation more comfortable, and in the case that you’re trying to convince the office to agree with your position, thanking them for a past action will make them feel like you do share common ground.

Bring Supporting Information. You don’t want to overload a staffer with information, but it’s a good idea to bring printed information on who you are (especially if you are from their district) and, concise printed information on your position. If a staffer seems interested, ask them if they need more information and offer to send it.

Write Out Talking Points. Talking points are the key reasons and supporting evidence for why you believe in a policy. They should be concise! Not more than a few sentences per point. You can use these points as a reference for yourself, and even leave them behind for the aide if they seem very interested in what you’ve pointed out.