Dos & Don'ts When Dealing with Legislators


  • Be or bring a constituent(s).
  • Know your subject.
  • Think before speaking.
  • Give the gist of your arguments as early in the conversation as possible - keep it short.
  • Be clear, concise and honest.
  • Assume your listener knows nothing about court reporting and simplify complex issues.
  • Describe personal impact.
  • Anticipate questions.
  • Leave or send written material.
  • Dress appropriately if meeting with legislator.
  • Leave your business card.
  • Request commitment. (Always!)
  • Follow-up with a written communication of thank you.


  • Use form letters.
  • Confuse the issue by discussing multiple issues.
  • Guess.
  • Be afraid to say "I don't know. I'll get back to you."
  • Use words that are terms of art.
  • Become confrontational.
  • Argue.
  • Threaten.
  • Use inappropriate language.
  • Lie.