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How To: Successful Policy Briefing Meetings for Youth Leaders

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Hosting successful policy briefing meetings with policymakers and community leaders is to as hard as it sounds. Check out the following tips to make sure you're covering your bases.

Do Your Homework: Prepare carefully and thoroughly for your meeting. Take the time to know who you are meeting with by reviewing his/ her legislative district, past statements on your issue, political party, and committee assignments.

Be Organized: Develop an agenda of talking points about your topic in advance. Know who will say what, and how your will respond to questions.

Stay "On Message": Effective legislative meetings are narrow in scope. Choose the issue that you want to focus on, and the message that you want to convey, and stick to it. Many meetings are ineffective because a participant brings up other issues or strays from the key arguments supporting your position.

Identify A Clear Goal: There should be a point to your meeting - either you are going to make a clear, actionable request, or you want answers to specific questions. You should be able to explain why you have asked for the meeting, and what you plan to do with what you learn.

Follow-Up: What happens after a meeting is almost as important as the meeting itself. Send a ‘thank you' letter after the meeting that not only expresses appreciation but reinforces your message and any verbal commitment of support made by the legislator or staff. If you promise during the meeting to get back in touch with additional information, be sure that you do so. Also, don't forget to report the results of your meeting with others in your community.

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