Advocacy Tips: Meeting with your elected officials

Left turn arrow outlined in chalk at an Open Streets Minneapolis event. The words 'Advocacy Tips' are typed over the image.

What's your vision for the future of Minneapolis? At Our Streets Minneapolis local advocacy is one way we're making our city a place where biking, walking, and rolling are easy and comfortable for everyone. Our advocacy work depends on people like you raising your voices to push our city in the direction you'd like it to go. One way you can do this is by meeting with your elected officials.

Tips for meeting with your elected officials

Depending on what is most effective with your elected officials, a meeting can be a very powerful way to get your message across.

Here are our tips on how to have a successful meeting with your elected official: 

Before the meeting:

  • Learn how to say your elected official’s name and find out a little bit about them.
  • Do some research on the issue you want to discuss and the status of the proposal.
  • Rehearse a brief statement about who you are and why you are meeting with them.

During the meeting:

  • Keep in mind that you are their constituent, and they represent you. Try to be confident and relaxed.
  • Start the meeting with the one or two sentence description you rehearsed about who you are and why you are meeting with them.
  • Relay a quick, personal story about why the issue matters to you.
  • State your ask, firmly and clearly.
  • Have a notepad and pen handy in case the legislator asks for more information (taking notes is usually better than typing into your phone during the meeting).
  • Be aware of their busy schedule and keep the meeting to 10 minutes (there are many exceptions to this, follow their lead).
  • Thank them for their time.
  • If the elected official cannot meet with you for some reason, meet with staff and leave a personal note summarizing your request.

After the meeting:

  • Send a follow-up email or personal note thanking them and/or their staff. Include a brief summary of any follow up commitments.
  • Keep in touch with them. Follow up on any progress or changes on the legislation.

Would you like to join passionate folks like you working for a better Minneapolis?
Check out our volunteer opportunities where you can work directly on local organizing and help shape our advocacy priorities. 

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