KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL CONGRESSIONAL VISIT
“WHAT TO EXPECT, WHAT TO DO AND NOT DO”
1. Have a message. Know what you want and be prepared to ask. Hill meetings can be quite short so it’s key to get to the point and make your point clear and concisely.
2. Meetings on the Hill can and will take place anywhere – in a Senator or Member’s office, in a committee hearing room, in the hall or in the reception area – don’t be surprised.
3. Expect interruptions, tardiness, canceled and rescheduled visits. Expect mistakes in scheduling, bells ringing, early departures and changes with whom you were expected to meet.
4. Visits should be scheduled with sufficient time to account for late meetings, to allow time to get from one place to another and you should expect down-time between meetings.
5. Dress professionally or in attire that reflects your affiliation with a larger group.
6. Your meeting should be planned to last no longer than 15 minutes – you may have the opportunity to go longer or you may be allotted less time.
7. Make your most important points clearly, succinctly and specifically.
8. Be interesting, informative and political. Relate your story and why the issue is important to you and other constituents like you.
9. Be honest, candid and relaxed. Use a conversational tone in your presentation – don’t be defensive or argumentative.
10. Expect a neutral reaction – Senator, Members and staff are rarely in the position to make firm commitments. A favorable response is a commitment to “do the best possible.” A more likely response is “we will consider your position”. Don’t be surprised by the lack of interest or negative response.
11. Don’t respond by being argumentative to a negative reaction.
12. Express appreciation to the person you are visiting for the time spent and the opportunity to present your case.
13. Remember, be prepared and equipped to state the reason for your visit: if you want action taken what action, and when or for whom, and why.
Have Fun and Good Luck!