Lobby Meeting Outline (Initial Meeting)
A sample agenda or outline for an initial meeting with a Congressional office.
Use this to plan your initial meeting with a Congressional office. If you’ve met with the member of Congress or a staffer already, then you may want to use the outline for a follow-up meeting.
Note: Please modify the outline as necessary; not all items will make sense for your meeting. We strongly recommend including an appreciation, CCL’s primary ask, and a supporting ask.
Initial Meeting Outline
- Thank the member of Congress or staffer for meeting with us.
- Time Monitor: “How much time do you have for this meeting?”
- Introduce yourselves (keep the time in mind). Name, hometown, and what inspires your action on climate. If appropriate, connect by sharing your personal story.
- Ask the staffer to introduce himself/herself.
- Show appreciation for a position the member of Congress has taken or a recent accomplishment.
- State our purpose: “Our purpose is to create the political will for a livable world.”
- If you have materials to deliver (letters, postcards, or endorsements), have “the deliverer” hand them to the member of Congress or staffer.
- Our ask:“Our ask is that [MOC NAME] support Energy Innovation Act legislation that puts a fee on fossil fuels and allocates the revenue to American households. We have more to say on that later, but first we want to open a dialogue with you.”
- Transition into the discussion.
- “We have some recent polling data estimates indicating Americans favor action to limit CO2 emissions. Would you like to see what that looks like for our district/state?”
- “Who in our district would we need to convince about the merits of this proposal to win your support?”
- “What are [MOC’s Name]’s thoughts on the Energy Innovation Act? What might be preventing him/her from supporting our legislation?”
- “What do you think is the fastest way for the U.S. to lead the world in the clean-energy economy?”
- “Do you think our current air & water policies reflect good stewardship?”
- Based on your group’s research of local climate impacts, what can you ask the office about climate impacts, renewable energy jobs, business or faith-based leaders in the community?
- Note: From your research, anticipate what you think your member’s responses might be so you are prepared to ask questions to draw out more information. Listen for the underlying value statements in their responses, acknowledge that value, and connect on common ground. Try to ask for permission to proceed before giving them information.
- Time Monitor signals the team when five minutes remain in the meeting.
- Our ask: (hand them a copy of our primary ask) “Our ask is that [MOC NAME] make the climate a bridge issue by supporting the Energy Innovation Act legislation, putting a fee on fossil fuels and returning the revenue to American households. Is that something he/she is willing to do now?”
- If it becomes clear they cannot commit to your ask, make sure you clearly understand what holds them back and then offer a supporting ask (smaller ask that builds towards our main ask).
- “What could we be doing more of in the district to make it easier for you to support this policy?”
- “Would you like a hard copy or electronic version of additional materials? How and when should I follow up?”
- Thank them for their time.