Scheduling Your Meeting
Determine Meeting Type
- On-site tours and meetings at your practice are one of the most effective advocacy efforts. It’s a valuable opportunity for legislators to understand your role in the community and how the policy issues you discuss are impacting your patients.
- Meeting in the district office is also a great place to meet with your member of Congress, get to know them and their staff, and to make some connections to policy issues impacting the local community.
Reach out to your legislator’s district office and ask to schedule a meeting.
- Not sure who your member of Congress is? Look them up or contact Academy staff to assist you.
- The staff will likely ask what policy issues will be discussed at the meeting. Issue briefs and talking points on this year’s policy issues are available here or on the Academy’s Advocacy app.
- You will likely have a few back and forth conversations and some schedule adjustments before you secure an official meeting date and time.
Make It Official
Set a date, time and location.
- If conducting a practice meeting/tour, share the meeting information with your colleagues.
- If you work at a hospital or in a large academic setting, please inform your government affairs team of the meeting.
Capture the Meeting
- If appropriate, notify your communications department and request a photographer cover the meeting.
Share on Social Media
- Tweet or post on social media about the upcoming meeting and
- Provide updates and a summary with photos following the meeting.
- Make sure to follow and tag the Academy in all social media posts.
For practice or facility tours, here are some additional steps to take to ensure a successful meeting:
- Map It Out: Map out a route that you plan to take.
- Create an Agenda: Draft a meeting agenda to share with the legislator and your colleagues.
- Track the time: Assign a point person to keep track of time.
As always, Academy staff is just an email or phone call away. If you have any questions about advocacy at home or how to navigate the scheduling process, please contact Megan Tweed, the Academy’s grassroots coordinator at 202.737.6662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Meeting Your Members
- Be prompt and patient. Please keep in mind that these are “working offices” and are very busy; schedules in Congress often change at the last minute and plans may change.
- Review your talking points and background materials prior to the meeting.
- Bring leave behind materials to share with the member of Congress.
When Meeting with a Member of Congress or Staff Person
Show up on time
Be polite and personable and conduct yourself in a professional manner
Research your members of Congress before your meetings
Call ahead if you are going to be late
Stay focused on the reason of your visit
Use personal stories to support your issues
Be ready to answer questions on your issues
Agree to disagree if you and the member of Congress or staff can’t agree on an issue
Leave behind an issue brief on each issue discussed with every office you visit
Keep the focus on ophthalmology’s issues.
Argue or antagonize. The Academy depends upon its relationships with members of Congress and their staff. Hostile or rude behavior could result in long-term damage to the Academy’s relationship with an office.
Ask a member to support a bill without knowing if they are already a supporter (Hint: This information is located on the Academy’s advocacy app.)
Be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” If you are unsure of an answer, take note of the question and give the information to an Academy staff member to follow up
Mention fundraising or campaign contributions during your meeting, as it is against the law and House ethics rules.
What You Should Bring to Your Meeting
- Dress professional—this is a business meeting.
- Bring business cards, if you have them.
- A valid, government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport) may assist you in getting through security.
- A pad and pen for note-taking.
- Leave behind materials for the legislator.
Follow Up Activities
- Write a thank you note
- Send a follow-up/ thank you email
- Thank legislator for the meeting via social media
- Distribute meeting photos to your legislator, state society, and the Academy
- Express interest in an upcoming political activity the legislator is leading
- Update your legislator of ongoing issues
- Reach out to your legislator about your position on upcoming legislation
- Begin an ongoing dialogue
- Follow up with Academy staff about your meeting