Eight Important Techniques for Communicating With Your Legislator(s) Over the Phone
- Always identify yourself as a constituent. “Hi, this is John Q. Public, and I am from Springfield.”
- Ask for the staff person who handles the issue that you are calling about.
- If the staffer is unavailable, before launching into your issue, ask the person answering the phone if they would prefer to take a message or if they would prefer you to leave a voicemail message for the staffer.
- If the staffer is available, state the reason for calling clearly and succinctly. Provide a brief background about the issue. A legislator deals with hundreds of issues and will not be familiar with everything; you are responsible for educating him/her.
- Create one or two talking points on the reason for your call. Include anecdotal information, if pertinent, to reinforce the issue of concern.
- Ask what the legislator’s position is on the issue. Don’t be surprised if they give you a vague answer.
- Only bring up one issue during the call. It is often difficult for the person listening to take notes and follow your conversation; if you talk about more than one issue, the listener will become confused.
- Request that the legislator take an action (ask him to support a bill, etc.). "Just to summarize, I am asking the Representative (or Senator) to support _______." Finally, ask the individual to pass your message along to your legislator and ask for a response to the issue raised in the call. Thank the staffer for his/her attention to the issue.