Government is not always easy to navigate, so learning how to connect and communicate with lawmakers is crucial. Ewald Consulting’s Government Relations team has represented a multitude of clients at the state and federal levels. Here are some of their top tips for communicating with lawmakers:
- Know your audience. This goes for just about any presentation, but make sure you have a thorough understanding of who you are speaking to. Our lobbyists recommend doing research beforehand to figure out the legislator’s party affiliation, the geographic area they represent, and issues they are passionate about. Even if this information does not directly relate to your initiative, you may be able to tailor your language to better appeal to your audience. Further, keep in mind that you or your organization may not always align with legislators politically. Be thoughtful about how you communicate and try your best to get your message across.
- Be succinct and clear. Legislators are busy people who are required to give their attention to a wide variety of topics and issues. Our staff recommends avoiding acronyms, jargon or any other details that legislators do not need to know to understand the issue at hand. Additionally, be sure to keep it short and simple. Do not get bogged down with unnecessary information. Give them what they need to know. A one-sheet document that highlights your key points can provide just a bit more background.
- Plan well. If you are able to choose who presents, think about who will be the most articulate and confident in front of lawmakers. This person is representing the people you serve, and they need to get your organization’s message across clearly and passionately. Further, you need to keep your message at the heart of your presentation. Make your audience understand why your issue is important.
- Take advantage of every channel you have. It is now easier than ever to follow what is going on with legislators and their staff. Many are on various forms of social media like Twitter and Facebook. Traditional methods like phone calls and scheduled in-person visits are also essential. Keep up to date with all information related to your initiative and the audience you are bringing it to.
Communicating with lawmakers may seem like an intimidating feat, but with the right approach, you and your organization can make a major impact on the legislative process.
For more about government relations, check out our newest episode from our podcast, Associations Next.