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Plan Your Visit Carefully

Be clear about what it is you want to achieve; determine in advance which member or committee staff you need to meet with to achieve your purpose.

Make an Appointment: When attempting to meet with a member, contact the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler. Explain that you are constituent with technical expertise and a member of a larger professional group like ANS. It is easier for congressional staff to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss and your relationship to the area or interests represented by the member.

Be Prompt and Patient: When it is time to meet with a member, be punctual and be patient. It is not uncommon for a member of Congress to be late, or to have a meeting interrupted due to a crowded schedule. Keep your message focused with clear arguments and simple supporting materials.

Be Prepared: Whenever possible, bring to the meeting strong arguments and simple materials supporting your position. Bullet points are more effective than dense text documents. Make your materials stand out with technical accuracy displayed in an easy to read format. Elected officials are required to take positions on many different issues. They will be more likely to take your position if they are confident they can explain it themselves.

Be Political: Members of Congress want to represent the best interests of their district or state. Whenever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the member's constituency. Describe the technical resources available to them in the form of ANS position statements, Standards, and Professional Divisions.

Be Responsive: Be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information in the event the member expresses interest or asks questions. Contact ANS Outreach if you need resources to answer their questions. Follow up the meeting with a thank-you letter that outlines the different points covered during the meeting, and send along any additional information and materials requested.

Be Appreciative: Always send a brief hand written note to a member or his/her staff immediately after your meeting, thanking them for their time and courtesy.

Last updated June 27, 2012, 8:46am CDT.

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