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Tips for Your Meetings w/ Members of Congress

If you are meeting with your Member of Congress or his/her staff, and would like help preparing for the meeting, please feel free to contact:

Mike Coogan
Legislative Coordinator

Things To Do Before Your Meetings

1.  Meet with everyone who is participating in the meeting.  Pick a lead spokesperson.  Rehearse your talking points and messages.  Have someone role play the Member of Congress or staff person and ask difficult questions.

2.  Make sure that you have enough copies of all materials to be left with Members of Congress or their staff, including information on your local group, the US Campaign, copies of relevant legislation, talking points, reports, etc.

3.  Dress for success.  Wear business clothes.  You and your message will be taken more seriously by your Member of Congress if you are dressed professionally.

Things To Do At Your Meetings

1.  Be on time.

2.  Have the lead spokesperson briefly introduce him/herself, your local activist organization, and the US Campaign.  Then have the other participants in the meeting introduce themselves. 

3.  State accurately how many people you represent. 

4.  Make your "ask" up front.  This is the most important part of the meeting and the reason why you came.  You are asking the Member of Congress to do something for you.  Don't be bashful about asking.  They are expecting an "ask".  An "ask" is something specific, such as "We would like you to sign on to the Dear Colleague Letter condemning Israel's human rights violations."

5.  After making your "asks" up front, focus on broader concerns and educational initiatives about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, time permitting.

6.  Be disciplinedódonít contradict or argue with each other.  If you do so, your group will look highly unprofessional and will not be taken seriously.

7.  Be respectful, courteous, and thankful.  This is not the proper time to badger Members of Congress for previous votes, statements, etc. 

8.  Be calmódonít be intimidated.  People wielding power can be scary sometimes.  Odds are that you know much more about the issue than does the Member of Congress or his/her staff person.  Keep this in mind when making your points.

9.  Address Members of Congress correctly by calling them "Senator" or "Representative", unless otherwise directed by the Member of Congress.

10.  Take notes.

13.  Get the staffers contact information

Things To Do After Your Meetings

1.  Send an evaluation of your meeting to us at development@endtheoccupation.org.  This will help us in knowing how we can best follow-up on these issues with this Member of Congress.

2.  Send a thank you note to the people with whom you met.  This is very important in developing relationships with the staff and lawmakers.

3.  Provide any follow-up information requested.

4.  Establish an ongoing relationship with your Members of Congress and their staff by phoning and faxing them when there is pending, relevant legislation.  Stay connected to what is happening on Capitol Hill via the US Campaign and please do legislative alerts.