Prior to Your Visit

  • Plan your visit carefully.
  • Be clear about what you want to achieve.
  • Determine in advance with which member or staff person you need to meet to achieve this purpose.
  • Make an appointment.
  • When attempting to meet with a legislator, call his or her staff (usually an Appointment Secretary or Scheduler) at least one week in advance.
  • Explain who you are and why you want to meet with the legislator.
  • If you were not able to make an appointment, ask to speak to the delegate or senator when you arrive.  If the legislator is not available, ask to speak to his or her aide.

During Your Visit

  • Be prompt and patient.
  • Be on time, but be prepared to wait.
  • It is not uncommon for a legislator to be late or for the meeting to be interrupted.
  • Be flexible, you may have to finish the meeting with a staff person.
  • Keep your visit short.
  • 15 minutes should be considered your maximum amount of time.
  • You must be able to get your points across early in the meeting.
  • Introduce yourself, tell your story, and tell the legislator what action you want him or her to take.
  • Be prepared and organized.
  • Keep the meeting focused.
  • Bring information and supporting materials to the meeting.
  • Have a position statement or fact sheet prepared to leave with your legislator.
  • Be political.
  • Wherever possible, show the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the legislator’s constituency.
  • Don’t be awed or intimidated.
  • You have something they want too – your vote!
  • Be Responsive.
  • Be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information.
  • Let the legislator know how you will follow up with the meeting – letter, phone call, additional meeting, etc.
  • Request a business card.
  • Thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you.

After Your Visit

  • Write a thank you letter that outlines the different points raised during the meeting.  Repeat the action you want him or her to take.
  • Send the letter that day! (Or, at the most, within 3 days of the meeting).