DO: prepare yourself for an appointment; be clear and specific about the purpose of your meeting, introduce yourself and/or your group, and leave materials relevant to the issue.
DO: be punctual, and be willing to wait for a person who runs behind schedule.
DO: keep letters and visits short and to the point.
DO: be accurate and authentic with supporting facts – document resources.
DO: be pleasant and polite.
DO: be aware that issues have two sides—yours and that of the opposition. Be the first to acknowledge an opposing viewpoint.
DO: support officials with positive visibility on behalf of the special needs of gifted children.
DO: ask for a response to keep communication going.
DO: follow-up with a thank-you note, phone call, e-mail, an appointment, a letter, vote, etc.
DON’T: be disappointed if you don’t accomplish your purpose on the first visit; change is a slow process and involves a relationship built over time.
DON’T: make your issue complicated. This person likely must deal with several important matters simultaneously and will be more attentive if you keep your points short and simple.
DON’T: ever be belligerent or threatening. Consider opposing viewpoints, even if you DON’T share them. Conflict closes communication.
DON’T: be late for an appointment. Lack of respect for other people’s time is rude.
DON’T: forget other staff members in your thank-you cards. Staff members often know as much or more about an issue than a legislator or administrator AND can get to him/her easier and more oft en than you can.
DON’T quit! Persistence and perseverance eventually pay off.
Adapted from an article by Gina Ginsberg Riggs, copyright 1984.