Tips for Virtual Meetings with Your Legislators

As we navigate a new way of advocating for important library priorities, here are a few tips to get you started. Note: please complete an Appointment Follow up survey form after each meeting!

Requesting a Meeting

  • Start with the scheduler - this person has ALL the information about the Legislator's meetings
  • Confirm, confirm, confirm - make sure you confirm EXACTLY who will be on the virtual meeting
  • Before you request a virtual meeting with your legislator’s office, make sure you have access to a virtual meeting platform (i.e. Microsoft Teams, Zoom) and are comfortable navigating it. 
  • Once a meeting date/time is confirmed, offer to “host” the meeting, but recognize the legislator’s office might have a preferred platform that you will need to use.

Before the Meeting

  • Test your Internet connection and/or phone signal by video chatting a family member or friend.
  • Make sure your background is not distracting. If you are taking the meeting in front of a window, if possible, cover the window so you do not appear as a silhouette on screen.
  • If you live with others, notify them to give you privacy within the timeframe of your meeting. 
  • Write down what you want to say so you can stay on message.
  • Make your points clear by explaining how your issue impacts the legislator’s district and constituents, as well as the region & state.
  • When possible, discuss the issue from a personal perspective – share your own experiences. 
  • If multiple advocates plan to join the call, assign a leader who will open and close the meeting and keep things running on time.
  • Before the meeting begins, silence your cell phone and place it out of view.
  • When you begin the meeting, ask permission to take a screen shot of everyone on screen
  • Ask if you can post on social media
  • If they ask for more info, be sure to provide it after the meeting
  • Be prepared to complete the FLA appointment survey form after each meeting, CLICK HERE for that form

During the Meeting

  • Introduce yourself and how you are connected to the Library.
  • Engage the member/staff by sharing your experiences and asking questions.
  • Leave time for questions from the member and/or staff.
  • If you are meeting with staff, remember they are responsible for briefing the member and recommending actions, and can be valuable allies in your advocacy.
  • Work to establish long-term relationships with staff. Try to arrange for follow-ups.
  • Remember to thank again member/ staff for meeting with you.

After the Meeting

  • Follow up with a thank you note and include your business card/contact information.
  • Media – social, print and digital – are excellent ways of engaging further with an office.
  • Legislative/Congressional offices track where and when the legislator appears in media so a well-placed op-ed or social media post that identifies the member and/or staff can lead to change.
  • Again, make sure to complete the appointment survey, CLICK HERE for that form.