Dos & Don'ts When Dealing with Legislators or Key Decision Makers


·    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.

·    Argue.

·    Threaten.

·    Use inappropriate language.

·    Lie.


Contact PCRA
P: 856-298-0480
F: 856-210-1619
The Outline Newsletter

The Outline - Winter 2018