10 Guidelines for Meeting with a Policy Maker

1. Prepare for Meeting

Get ready to meet with a policy maker by following the guidelines contained in The Top Ten Tips on How to Influence Policy Makers and the Policy Making Process Prepared by Bobby Silversteen.

2. Beware of Filibusters

Don't get sidetracked by long introductions and chit chat because before you know it the meeting will be over.
Goal is to control the agenda (policy maker would prefer chit chat about mutual friends back home in the district and you prefer to accomplish your agenda)

Ask for a picture at the END of the meeting if possible (so it doesn't interfere with
advocacy objectives.)

3. Describe Purpose of Meeting/Topic Area

Limit time period for introductions but use to demonstrate the status of participants (e.g., part of a disability group with 5,000 members which has a newsletter)

Limit agenda items.

Explain the subject matter of the meeting.

4. Share Personal Stories and Explain How Personal Stories Relate to Policy Objectives and Policy Options

Strategically select who will make the presentations

Get to the policy maker's heart before get to his / her head

After get to policy maker's heart, get to his / her head

Frame the issue--explain why personal story is important by explaining how it impacts others (i.e., it is an issue of general applicability)

Share policy options Share support for your position by opinion leaders the policymaker trusts/ respects

Explain the research bases for position Offer to provide additional information for staff

5. Make Specific Requests of Policy Maker

Explain why it is important for policy maker to get involved
Request specific action by policy maker (such as co-sponsor a bill, oppose a certain amendment, speak in support of or in opposition to an amendment, visit a program in the state, give a speech)

6. Ask Policy Maker to Articulate His / Her Position and Suggest Follow-Up Activities

Ask for policy maker's position

Solicit reasons, rationales for position

Be aware of nonverbal communication of policy maker and staff

Offer to provide additional information

Propose a meeting or visit to program in home district

7. Take a Picture

Take Picture
Share with policy maker distribution strategy

8. Provide Feedback to Government Affairs (GA) Staff

What you said to the policy maker

The policy maker's response/reactions/concerns

The response/reactions/concerns of the policy maker's staff

The nonverbal communications by the policy maker and staff

What you promised to provide policy maker and/or staff in response to issues raised

9. Write Thank You

Use Thank You as an excuse for summarizing the themes/major points raised at the meeting and your understanding of the policy maker's position or needs (e.g., more information)

10. Follow-Up

Ask government affairs staff what follow-up is appropriate
Take responsibility to carry out agreed on tasks

Prepared by: Bobby Silversteen, Director
Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy
Washington, DC
(202) 223-5340
Send E-mail: Send E-mail

Reprinted here with permission.

For more tips and guidelines for meeting with a policy maker click here.

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