Above: Chris Abeel, director of government affairs for the New Jersey CU League, offers suggestions for meeting with legislators during Hill visits.
Conducting business with a personal touch is an ethos that has served credit unions well.
Taking the same approach on GAC Hill visits can make a big impact on legislators.
These seven steps can help credit unions get their message across:
1. Be prepared. Focus on no more than two issues. Do your homework on all sides of the argument, as well as the legislator’s record. Bring concise, engaging handouts.
2. Strategize as a group. Decide a plan of attack and the desired outcomes. Appoint a manager to keep your meeting on topic, and a secretary to take notes.
3. Arrive cool, calm and in control. Show up early to acclimate to the surroundings. Introduce yourself to representative and aides with enthusiasm, intent on forming a personal connection.
4. Put on your game face. Be professional and objective. Do not rant and rave. Let the facts speak for themselves.
5. Make specific requests. Form your “money” question in yes-or-no fashion to elicit a clear response. Clarify the next steps, and set a timetable for action.
6. Be greedy. Ask a supportive legislator to rally other members within a committee or state delegation—and to write an op-ed for a newspaper.
7. Keep the ball rolling. Publicize your visit on social media and in your publications. Send a thank-you note. Keep tabs on the issue and follow through on your pledge to follow up.