6 Tips for Communicating with Decision-Makers
You will typically need to meet with or at least speak to the person your petition is addressed to in order to persuade them to do what you want. Here are general tips on communicating with decision-makers:
1. Be friendly, but persistent
Often, if you don’t have a personal relationship with the person you’re calling, they won’t call you back very quickly. So don’t be afraid to leave multiple (friendly) messages.
2. Always be respectful
Never, ever be personally insulting or rude. It’s harmful to your campaign and MoveOn.
3. Ask for a very clear and concrete commitment
It can be nerve-wracking to ask for what you want. But if you aren’t clear in your ask, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll say yes.
4. Contact them early
Ideally, you want to initiate contact with the decision-maker early on, before your campaign has really gotten going. First of all, they might just say yes without a big petition drive! But don’t let this be a stumbling block, since especially if you are targeting the CEO of a large corporation or a high-ranking elected official, it may be hard to get them to respond right away.
5. Speak to the “right” person
If possible, you want to communicate with the individual who has the authority to make the decision you’re looking for. However, if you’re targeting someone like a governor or U.S. Senator, you’ll almost always have to communicate with a staff representative first, so try to speak with the staff person assigned to your issue.
6. Always follow up after your conversation
Finish the conversation with a clear follow-up plan and then make sure to actually follow-up! Always remember to send a thank you note after the meeting.
For a more in-depth overview on how to communicate with Congress, click here for a training guide created by MoveOn. (Many of the tips included in this training also apply to communicating with governors, state legislators, and other decision-makers targeted frequently by petitions.)