Prepare For In-Person Meetings

Step-by-Step Process for a Successful Meeting

If you are planning to meet with your legislator about ASHA’s advocacy priorities, please let ASHA know by emailing us at federal@asha.org

Requesting a Meeting 

Members of Congress take "district work period" breaks where they leave Washington, DC, and work at their local offices. Breaks occur in August, around holidays, and at the beginning and/or end of each week. Note: The House and Senate do not follow the same calendar. (For meetings in Washington, DC, see Capitol Hill Visits.) 

Preparing for Your Meeting

  • Understand the Issues: Visit ASHA’s Take Action site to learn about ASHA’s issue priorities so you can confidently share how they affect the professions and those you serve.
  • Gather Supporting Materials: Contact ASHA at federal@asha.org to let us know when you have an appointment scheduled and request materials to take to your meeting. Staff can also provide an overview of ASHA's issue priorities, answer any questions you may have, and review  quick facts for your state to share with your legislator. 

Meeting Day 

Tips

  • Be punctual and patient.
  • Plan for a 15-minute meeting, but be flexible if your time is cut short.
  • Don't mention political contributions.

Discuss the Professions and the Issues

  • Introduce yourself, include the town where you reside, where you work, and what you do.
  • Provide some background on audiology/speech-language pathology. Don't assume that the legislator/staff know what audiologists or SLPs do each day.
  • Concentrate on 1-2 issue priorities.
  • Legislators want to hear personal stories that highlight how the issue affects their constituents.
    • For example, explaining how federal funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is necessary to continue to provide students with proper education in their state is helpful.

Ask for Support on the Issues

  • Be straightforward, but courteous, in expressing your views and be receptive to the legislator's questions and comments. 
  • If the legislator doesn't volunteer their position on the issue, ask! Legislators meet many constituents, but they won't know how to help unless you clearly state what you want them to do. Make your "ask" clear and concise.
    • For example, you might say, "Please protect federal funding for IDEA." 
  • If your legislator has already cosponsored the legislation, thank them for their support.
  • If they ask a question that you can't answer, say that you will do some research and give the legislator an answer. ASHA is happy to work with you on a response, email us at federal@asha.org.

Wrap Up

  • Ask to take a picture with the legislator/staff and share on social media.
  • Be sure to leave your business card and take the business card of the staff member, if staff is present.
  • Offer to be a resource to your legislator on any issues that may arise in the future. 
Note About Staff

Legislators are often unavailable to meet personally. If you end up meeting with a member of the legislator’s staff, do not be disappointed or discouraged! Staff members are generally very knowledgeable about the topics you are planning to discuss, and often have influence over the legislator’s view of an issue. Therefore, meetings with staff are often as productive, if not more productive, than a meeting with the legislator.

Following Your Meeting

  • Send a thank-you letter emphasizing key points you discussed during the meeting and provide any additional information you may have promised. 
  • Let ASHA know how the meeting went by emailing us at  federal@asha.org.

Continuing to Be an Advocate for the Professions

Consider building a relationship with your legislator by:

  • hosting a site visit at your place of work so he/she can learn more about the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology;
  • attending the legislator's local fundraisers and events; or
  • visiting your legislator in their Capitol Hill offices if you are in Washington, DC—either for an ASHA meeting or at any other time.

Additional opportunities to advocate for the professions include:

  • contacting your legislator through ASHA's Take Action site on issue priorities; and 
  • supporting ASHA-PAC, ASHA's federal political action committee, which provides financial support to candidates for the U.S. House and Senate who recognize the importance of audiology and speech-language pathology services and who demonstrate concern for the rights of all citizens to receive these services.

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