Participating as an advocate in the public policy arena can be a rewarding and impactful experience. Advocates play an integral role in the legislative process, the direction of policy agendas, and ultimately the ability to create meaningful change. Success as an advocate relies on strong verbal reasoning, amicable character, and offering candid information. Legislative briefings provide a unique opportunity for advocates to meet face-to-face with policy officials and express their concerns as either constituents, thought leaders, or representatives of interest groups.
Understanding the realities of what occurs during a legislative briefing helps to provide a framework of expectations for the advocate as they meet with legislators.
- Flexible in Nature
- A day in the life of a legislator includes attending briefings, hearings, formal sessions, district events, etc.; with any given day their schedule can be overrun, face unexplained changes, or be tight for time.
- When attending a legislative briefing, be prepared to make concessions in respect to your allotted meeting time and date, the location of your meeting, and even with whom you are meeting with.
- The length of a briefing with a legislator varies. It is generally twenty to thirty minutes, a generous time allotment, always with the possibility of being cut short or even rescheduled due to interruptions by a legislator’s other responsibilities.
- Occasionally, legislator’s schedule meetings during formal sessions when they will be in the building, but must partake in roll calls and be near their respective chamber. As a result, the location of your meeting could be changed to a hallway within the building or to a hearing room to provide more convenience for the legislator if they are summoned to vote.
- Due to the demanding array of responsibilities assumed by a legislator, it is likely that they may be called into another meeting or to their district to address an emergency issue, leaving you as the advocate to meet with a member of their staff. Legislative staff routinely act as liaison between the public and legislators, so be assured they are well informed on public policy issues and will effectively communicate an advocate’s message to the legislator; the legislative staff play an important part in the policymaking process.
- Keys to Communicating
- In understanding a policymaker, specifically what motivates them and their policy interests, advocates can tailor a message that resonates with the legislator.
- Working to frame a presentation that clearly defines the issue, explains the impact, and delivers a resolution, provides structure to the briefing and maintains the attention of the legislator or staffer.
We at TBG, are experts in direct lobbying with local, state, and federal officials. Please reach out to us here for a complimentary Consultation. Hopefully, this short guide will help prepare you for the next steps in your process. Also To learn about our other areas of expertise, our accomplishments, and our team, please visit us at The Brennan Group.