There is nothing like face-to-face communication when it comes to influencing others! Here are some tips to help you make the most of short but valuable time you will have when you meet with your congressperson:
Before You Call to Request a Meeting: Make sure you are knowledgeable about your issue. For assistance, you can always look at Our Campaigns or our Action Center for the latest updates or background information.
Set Up a Date and Time for the Meeting: Although a congressperson will sometimes meet with a constituent or group from the district with less advance notice, you are more likely to be successfull in getting a meeting with your member of Congress if you start arranging for it at least 6-8 weeks before you plan to visit.
If you are setting up a meeting with less advance notice, you will usually meet with a congressional staffer—the person who is responsible for tracking a specific issue and advising the congressperson on how to vote. These meetings can be almost as valuable as meeting with the member of Congress and should not be dismissed as second best. In the majority of cases, the staffer’s opinion will be the position taken by the congressperson.
If you are unable to set up a meeting ahead of time, you may stop by the office and ask for “just a moment of the foreign policy aide’s time.” If you are from the district, be sure to let them know. If the aide is not available, offer to leave behind some note or supporting information for why you came to visit. It is always a good idea to follow up with a phone call or e-mail.
Who to Contact: You may contact either the local or the DC office and request a meeting. When you initiate your phone call, always indicate that you are a constituent. Explain what you would like to discuss, and let them decide who it would be best for you to meet with. Phone numbers for congressional offices may be found at www.house.gov, www.senate.gov, or you may call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative or senator.