Meeting Scenarios

Prepare for upcoming meetings with your legislative leader or staff member by reviewing the following scenarios.

Scenario Legislator/Staff Reaction Your Response Other Etiquette
Scenario 1

The legislator/staff listens carefully and asks few or no questions.

"I will think about what you have said."

This is a very common type of meeting and allows you to tell your story and express your opinions.

For some meetings, this is all that you will accomplish, but try to get specific feedback and commitments.

Ask questions to find out what could influence a decision.
  • Does your legislator know how this issue?
  • Does the legislation impact the community in their district or them personally?
Scenario 2

Unless your legislator works on a relevant committee—don't expect the legislator/staff to know much about the issue.

"I'm new," and 
"I don't know anything about audiologists or speech-language pathologists."

Before jumping into specifics, take a step back from your original plan to ensure the legislator/staff has a complete understanding of the issue. Discuss what the issue is, why it's important, and who it will impact.

Staff use the information you provide to construct memos about your discussion for the lawmaker. They'll greatly appreciate the perspective you provide.

  • Broadly describe the role of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in health care and education settings.
  • Encourage questions—don't assume the legislator/staff knows even basic information about the professions.
  • Try to find a personal tie between the individual you're meeting with and yourself.
  • Personalize your meeting with real life examples and make them remember you.
Scenario 3

After introducing the legislative issue, the legislator or staffer agrees with you.

"I agree."

Use this as the gateway to secure lawmaker commitment to your position and ask them to work with others (members of Congress if federal legislation) to secure support on the issue.
  • Get verbal commitment from your legislator/staff if possible.
  • Thank them for their support. (Thank them on social media too!)
  • If federal, indicate the ASHA staff will follow-up, as ASHA will be excited to hear of their official support for the legislation.
Scenario 4

After introducing the legislative issue, the legislator/staff disagrees with you.

"That is not my position," or "I disagree."

This rarely happens as legislators/ staff do not like to disagree with their constituents. Try to understand why the legislator may not support/oppose the legislative issue so you can use this information in the future to work toward your position.
  • Find out why there is disagreement.
  • Determine whether the problem is political in nature.
  • Agree that no bill is perfect and find out which part of the bill is a problem.
Scenario 5 After introducing the legislative issue, the legislator/staff seems disinterested in what you have to say. This may happen if the staffer has been delegated the meeting from another staffer. The staffer may not work on the issue, the topic may be entirely new to the staffer and/or the staffer may lack context to understand the issue. If the legislator seems disinterested, they may not have an interest in health care or education issues due to their own background and/or committees on which they serve.
  • Determine the legislator/staffer’s issue interests in the health care/ education space, if any.
  • If the meeting is with the legislator, follow-up with the staffer assigned to the issue/topic. 
  • Remember to tie a local story or anecdote to an issue to make your case more compelling.

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