Effective Legislator Meeting Handout
Three Steps to An Effective Legislative Meeting
For a legislator, meeting with constituents is an essential part of the job. In fact, as constituents, you are the most important person to them because they need your vote and support to stay in office! So, know going in that your meeting request and sharing your interest is welcome and not intrusive. At the same time, nobody likes to have their time wasted—legislators included. Taking the time to plan your approach to the meeting ahead of time ensures that you can make your point and build a great relationship and reputation with your legislator.
Follow the steps below to have an effective legislative meeting!
Know Your Legislator
Review your legislator’s biography, committee assignments, and recent press releases before your meeting. Coming in with knowledge of and interest in the legislator’s work is a great way to build rapport and break the ice. If you can find any connections to the legislator through your research, lead with those.
Have a Clear Objective for Your Meeting
Understand the goal of your meeting before going in. Generally, the objective of these meetings is to ask for a specific vote or to build relationships. If you are discussing a particular piece of legislation, know where it is in the legislative process and be prepared to ask the member to vote a specific way. If you want to build a relationship, invite the legislator to visit your office or ask how you can support them in the district. Be prepared to follow up with the legislator either way.
Share Your Story Concisely
Prepare to share your story or opinion in 2-3 minutes. Legislative meetings usually last about 15 minutes. After your introduction and pleasantries, concisely sharing your opinion will allow for more time for discussion.
Share the Mission of CAO
These meetings are essential in raising CAO’s visibility in the legislature. Be prepared to speak about the organization’s value and leave CAO materials behind.
Send a follow-up email promptly letting the legislator know that you appreciated the meeting and connecting them to CAO staff or lobbyists.