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Government relations: Be knowledgeable, be specific

Government relations: Be knowledgeable, be specific

Ike IsaacsonQ. I’m new to the advocacy game. How can I get started? 

A. If you have never engaged your legislator, it can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Effective communication with legislators is easy and essential for any advocacy success. Here are some tips to help you communicate effectively with legislators:  

  • Be specific: Be specific about the issue you are advocating for. Provide clear and concise information about the issue and why it is important.  
  • Ask for action: Ask your legislator to take specific action on the issue. This can include sponsoring a bill or taking other actions to support your cause.  
  • Use time wisely: Use your time wisely when communicating with legislators. Be respectful of their time and keep your message brief and to the point.  
  • Plan out your remarks: Plan out your remarks in advance. This can help you stay focused and ensure that you cover all of the key points.  
  • Solicit support from your legislator: Solicit support from your legislator by asking them to publicly support your cause. This can help build momentum and generate additional support for your issue.  
  • Tell the truth: Be honest and truthful in your communications with legislators. Provide accurate information and avoid exaggerating or misrepresenting the facts.  
  • Be respectful: Be respectful and courteous in your communications with legislators. Even if you disagree with their position, it is important to maintain a professional and respectful tone.  
  • Follow up: Follow up with your legislator after your initial communication. This can include sending a thank-you note or following up with additional information.  

In addition to these tips, it is important to be knowledgeable about the issue you are advocating for. This should include researching the issue, understanding the legislative process, knowing the key decision-makers and being a part of your industry advocacy groups such as VGM and others. 

For more helpful tips on effective advocacy visit: 

Mike “Ike” Isaacson is senior vice president of government relations at VGM & Associates. Reach him at [email protected].


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