Training Your Troops to Visit Capitol Hill

Welcome back to our ongoing series to help you advance your public policy success when conducting Washington, D.C., fly-ins with your employees and members.

One of your first orders of business as you prepare for a Washington, D.C., fly-in is organizing a training session. This meeting should cover pertinent legislation, your message, and the logistics of your Capitol Hill visits.

Your message forms the centerpiece of your advocacy efforts. Devote plenty of time to internalizing your message so that you can verbalize it powerfully. Assign a member of your communications team to walk your advocates through a one-page messaging document (for your internal use only) that sets forth your four main points, each supported by bullets proving your contentions.

Below are some items likely to appear on the agenda:

  • REd handseview legislation you support or oppose.
  • Walk through the messaging you plan to use in support of your argument.
  • Discuss any pertinent media coverage.
  • Conduct Hill visit rehearsal exercises.
  • Take a virtual tour of the Capitol complex.
  • Cover how you plan to follow up on your fly-in efforts.

A few words about recording your practice sessions on video. Do it. As you practice, pair some of your fly-in veterans with the less experienced and conduct a mock visit to one of their elected officials. This exercise is particularly effective when you assign a couple of members of your government relations staff to portray the member of Congress and a staffer. And don’t forget to review the video immediately thereafter for learning moments.

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