Powering Strong Communities

10 dos and don’ts of effective advocacy meetings

Meeting with elected officials at the federal or state level is about sharing your perspective and being a resource for them in your areas of expertise. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of the meeting and leave the door open for building a relationship with policy makers.


  • Call to schedule a meeting well in advance
  • Know who you are meeting with: How to correctly pronounce their name, what they look like, what are their key issues, who are their key staff, and to what committees they belong
  • Bring along or provide insight from local elected officials and constituents
  • Share how a policy affects you personally
  • Provide data to back up your claims
  • Be honest and transparent
  • Admit when you don’t know the answer to a question
  • Make reasonable asks
  • Think through your discussion and asks to make sure you can talk about the topics in a way someone outside the industry could understand
  • Follow-up in a timely manner



  • Insist on only meeting with the elected official instead of their staff
  • Interpret other stakeholders’ positions
  • Try to hide or gloss over problems
  • Forget that you are the expert on utility matters – you’re there to be a resource
  • Only reach out when you need something
  • Try to drop in without an appointment
  • Rely on jargon, acronyms, or technical terms to describe an issue
  • Try to discuss multiple issues at once – it can confuse your message
  • Get into an argument – explain any opposing position respectfully
  • Forget to follow through on follow-up


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