Make sure you arrive at the office at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time, both to find the office and let them know you’re there.
The best way to start the meeting is to thank the staff member or member of Congress for their time. Let them know you’re advocates with the National Brain Tumor Society, introduce yourselves and tell them where in the district you live.
For a guide to the outline of the meeting, review our meeting prep form. While you don’t have to stick to that exact plan, it’s helpful to have an idea of how the meeting will run.
A few other tips when meeting with elected officials and/or a member of their staff:
- Your goal is to connect with your Representative so that he or she is moved by your story and will vote in favor of legislation and make decisions that supports your needs and the needs of the brain tumor community.
- If you have something in common with your Representative, like you went to the same college, use that as a way to connect with your Representative.
- Be personal. Let your legislators know about the personal connection you have to brain tumors. Your story has value and impact. It is what your Representative will remember most about meeting you.
- Use this time to educate your Representative on the challenges of a brain tumor diagnosis and how it has affected your life as a caregiver, patient and/or survivor.
- Ultimately, use this time to build productive relationships with the Congressperson and their staff – the meetings are opportunities to create positive relationships for the future. This meeting will likely not be the last time you speak you’re your elected official.
- If you are asked for information you don’t have, just tell the elected official that you will get them the information, and contact the National Brain Tumor Society (email firstname.lastname@example.org) after the meeting and we will provide assistance in answering their question.
- Thank elected officials when appropriate (for example, when they have co-sponsored a bill we’re advocating for).
- Try to stay on the subject of the issues you came to discuss. Sometimes the subject can move into other issues and that will eat up your time. You can always respond by saying, “I know those are important issues, but I would like to talk more about issues facing the brain tumor community…”
- Do not be partisan. Please do not make comments that are politically leaning or charged. National Brain Tumor Society is a nonpartisan organization and must work with elected officials in a nonpartisan manner.