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Control the Conversation: Grassroots 101

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Laurie Markle

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of Control the Conversation: Grassroots 101

Control the Conversation:
Grassroots 101

Open door. Insert foot.
Memorable Messages are Relevant Messages
2. Personal relevance.
Make a personal connection. Share a BRIEF + COMPELLING story.
Remain a Relevant Resource
Congressional Champions...
are necessary for legislative success.
are not made in a day.
are earned through constituent relationship building.
and advocates build relationships by remaining relevant, polite & persistent.

You've acquired a meeting...
You're relevant
enough for a meeting. You're likely either a...
campaign contributor
constituent or employer
Your influence in Congress is determined by your relevance.
The Secret:
We can't control Congress' calendar, but we can control their conversation by remaining relevant*.
with a 25 year old?
Only 1/3 of House staff have more than 3 years experience. (Sunlight Foundation, 2010)

Age is
an indicator of influence.


YOU are the expert in the room.
and it's time to talk business.
1. Professional relevance.
Make your case for relevance.
Why do you matter? Why does community behavioral health matter?
My practice serves XXX people annually.

What is your community (i.e. legislative district) impact? Do you employ people?

What is at risk when we ignore community behavioral health?
The hard work is done. Your 5 asks are timely and relevant.
do this. not that.
Be early, polite, respectful, + professional.
Be aware of any connections to the legislator.
Find a way to say "thanks" at the start of the meeting.
Leave a business card.
Take a picture.
Go in looking for a debate. You won't find it.
Check your phone.
Give a gift.
Forget to provide them with handouts!

having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand*.
Matter(s) at hand:
community behavioral health, re-election, constituent services, public opinion, partisan debates, bad/good press, happy boss, etc.
Remember what 25 was like.
Overworked / Underpaid
Personalities (Anxious Alice, Crackberry Barry, Bleeding Heart Henry, Can't Help You Carry)
Consider yourself the diplomat of behavioral health.
1 meeting does not a Congressional Champion make.

You MUST follow up.
Influence Trifecta
Don't want to work
with you.
Can be ignored.
Advocate's Toolkit: Perfecting the Voicemail




Answer questions
Say thanks
Request clarification or decision
Hi [staffer]. This is [name] from [city].
I'm calling today about [bill number or relevant language].
[Your story/relevance to the ask in 10 sec or less.]
I'm calling to check up on a request for Rep./Sen. [last name] to X.
I'd love to discuss this further. [Contact info]. Thank you! I appreciate your time.
Where we go from here...
Arriving early, with a business card and a smile.
Assuming the position of a diplomat.
Beginning our meeting with praise and thanks.
Providing issue briefs and materials to legislator and staff.
Proving our relevance beyond our address with what we offer, our story, and timely asks.
Following up with staff at the meeting with thanks, answers, and request for decision.
Laurie Markle, MA
(202) 887-2921
Prezi search: Laurie Markle
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