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Brief Tips for Advocates who are meeting with a Representative

By Grey Powell

Make an appointment with your representative and be on time for the meeting

Be Prepared: Know exactly what is it is you that you want to say to your representative and be able to express it clearly and succinctly.

Stay on Message: Say only things you know to be true and that are relevant to why you are meeting with your representative. Do not get side tracked by issues that do not pertain to the purpose of your meeting. If you are asked questions you do not know the answer to, ”I don’t know”. , Is an appropriate response. If possible, offer to find an answer to the question and get back to them. This opens up the possibility of further dialogue between you and your representative.

Clearly State Your Wishes: Make sure your representative knows exactly what it is you would like them to do when you meet. It is a good idea for the last thing you say at the end of the meeting to be a refrain of what you want your representative to do for your cause.

Do Not Assume They Know Anything About Your Issue: Be prepared to educate your representative about your issue.

Do Not Act Confrontationally or Threaten Your Representative: As much as possible, be positive and friendly. Remember, you are among many others who are trying to persuade them to work on a particular issue. Don not let your actions drown out your message.

You should follow up your meeting with your representative, and anyone in their office you met, with a thank you letter which reiterates your message. If applicable, follow up at an appropriate time to see if your representative has followed through on any promises made to you in the meeting. Most importantly, keep any promises you make to your representative. Your meeting should be part of a continuing relationship you cultivate with your representative and their office.

Remember, you are a part of an overall movement. You do not have to represent all people with Brain Injuries, just yourself.