- Identify yourself and say whom you represent immediately on each contact. Legislators meet hundreds of people and they can't remember everyone.
- Know the issue or the status of the legislation. Refer to the legislation by bill number.
- Be brief. Legislators are very busy.
- Be specific and practical. Relate arguments to situations in the legislator's home district.
- Thank legislators.
- Keep the door open for further discussion even if you don't agree at this time. "Politics make strange bedfellows" is not without foundation.
- Talk with legislators even if their position differs with yours.
- Think of yourself as a consultant to a legislator. You have the expertise and insights that help the legislators understand the bill.
- Be honest. NEVER lie. Acknowledge opposing arguments and any political liabilities.
- Ask the legislator for support.
- Back legislators into a corner.
- Overwhelm legislators with too much information or jargon.
- Get into lengthy arguments.
- Be afraid you say you don't know. Offer to find out and send the information back.
- Confront, threaten, pressure or beg.
- Expect legislators to be specialists. Their schedules and the number of bills make them generalists.
- Ask the impossible too often.