A great many of the tools used to successfully lobby are simply common sense ideas. The most important thing to remember is that a lobbyist has only his or her reputation to count on. Your word must be trusted; therefore, do not be tempted to "sugar coat" your presentation. Give it fairly and honestly, and be prepared to answer the question "What is the other side of this issue?"
Below are some of the elementary steps to be taken in lobbying your legislators:
- Decide which issue you will be lobbying.
- Use your legislative guides to determine which legislators you need to see based on their committee assignments.
- Call the legislators' office before you leave for Tallahassee to make an appointment. Be flexible!! Committee meetings are called on short notice and your appointments may need to be changed or cancelled at the last minute.
- Be courteous to staff. They are your link to the legislator. (And they are probably already knowledgeable about your issues.)
- Have a one-page summary of your presentation prepared to leave at the legislative office. Ask for a commitment!! You will be graded on briefness!!!
- If the legislator is not there, make your presentation to staff.
- Thank both staff and legislator for their time.
- Don't take more than five to ten minutes (if that long) to plead your case. Others will be trying to see the legislator, and it is important that he/she understands the strength of your numbers.
- Don't depend on friendship alone. Be armed with facts.
- Don't be late!! You may lose your chance.