Do's and Don't Guide


  • Rehearse your presentation so that it can be delivered in five minutes.
  • Introduce yourself briefly.
  • Open by thanking the elected official for meeting with you (if you have met the person before, mention the last time you saw him/her.)
  • Use formal titles (Council(Wo)man_____, Mayor_____, Representative_____, Senator_____, Governor____) unless you have a personal relationship.
  • Get to the main point-using two sentences about why you are there and what you want.
  • Keep to the point; stick to your presentation.
  • Stress key messages.
  • Answer questions directly, calmly, and factually.
  • Rebut arguments with facts.
  • Speak up.
  • Watch for the official's reaction while others are speaking.
  • Pay attention to "body language"-Talk with your head up; make eye-to-eye contact; be physically and vocally animated.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Leave behind a business card or your name, phone number and address.
  • Leave behind a one-page summary of your position, if possible.
  • Ask if you can count on the official's support.
  • Offer to provide additional information.


  • Be emotional-be positive and offer alternatives.
  • Attack or question motives-beware of attacking your opponents and criticizing other elected officials.
  • Dwell on non-related issues.
  • Rush.
  • Become defensive or agitated.
  • Don't get into partisan politics.
  • Linger and make small talk.
American Association of Anatomists

9650 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3998
Tel: 301-634-7910 | Fax: 301-634-7965


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