· Be or bring a constituent(s).
· Know your subject.
· Think before speaking. Don’t try to fill awkward silences with chatter! Be strategic about every word, and bring in notes to keep yourself on track with the message.
· Give the gist of your arguments as early in the conversation as possible - keep it short. This is your “elevator speech;” relay your message in three minutes or less.
· Be clear, concise and, more importantly, honest.
· Assume your listener knows nothing about court reporting and simplify complex issues. Try not to use industry lingo that may get lost in translation.
· Describe personal impact. Personal stories are the most effective.
· Anticipate questions and be ready with your responses.
· Leave or send written material, following your meeting.
· Dress appropriately if meeting with legislator.
· Leave your business card.
· Request commitment: “Will you support XYZ?” (Always!)
· Follow up with a written communication of thank you.
· Use form letters.
· Confuse the issue by discussing multiple issues.
· Guess or exaggerate the impact of your issue.
· Be afraid to say "I don't know. I'll get back to you." This creates a great opportunity for follow-up, continuing your dialogue after your meeting.
· Use words that are terms of art or acronyms.
· Become confrontational.
· Use inappropriate language.