- Do learn members' committee assignments and where
their specialties lie.
- Do identify the aide(s) that handle the issues and
build a relationship with them.
- Do present the need for what you're asking the member
to do. Use reliable information.
- Do relate situations in their home state or district
- Do, in the case of voting records, ask why the member
voted the way she/he did.
- Do show openness to knowledge of the counterarguments.
- Do admit what you don't know. Offer to find out and
send information back to the office.
- Do spend time even when the member has a position against yours. You can lessen the intensity of his/her opposition, or you might even change her/his position.
- Don't overload a congressional lobby visit with too many issues. One visit for one or two topics.
- Don't confront, threaten, pressure, or beg or speak with a moralistic tone.
- Don't be argumentative; speak with calmness and commitment so as not to put them on the defensive.
- Don't use easy ideological arguments.
- Don't overstate the case. Members and staff are very busy.
- Don't expect members to be specialists; their schedule and workload make them generalists.
- Don't make promises you can't keep.
- Don't leave the visit without leaving a position or fact sheet in the office.
*Thanks to the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America for helping with this list.