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Tuesday, February 14, 2006TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LOBBYING
TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LOBBYING
Do Your Homework- Learn as much as you can about the problem. Be able to explain how it affects you. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents arguments. Anticipate questions and have answers ready.
Start Early- You have to be ready when the time comes and everything always takes longer than you think it will.
Tell the Truth- Legislators rely on you for good information. You will never regain your credibility once you lose it. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. If you promise to find an answer, do it.
Keep it Simple- Work from the KISS principle-Keep it simple and short. Think about what you want and why you want it. Legislators are busy people and appreciate a concise summary of what you want.
Take Your Friends Where You Find Them-Find your friends and work with them. In politics, a friend is someone who helps you when you need help, whether a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. Never cut anyone off from contact - your opponent today may be your ally tomorrow.
Know Your Opponents-Don't waste time trying to convince those who are publicly committed to their position. Put your energy into swaying undecided votes. But keep lines of communication with your opponents open for possible compromises.
Think Big, But Always Know Your Bottom Line- Always ask for more than you think you can get. The legislative process is one of compromise-legislators try to give everyone something. Have something you can give up to your opponents without hurting you. This means you must prioritize. Decide what is most important and be willing to compromise on everything else.
Build Coalitions-Work from a united front. Find groups and individuals who agree with you on an issue and work with them. Don't expect them to agree with you on every issue or expect the coalition to last forever. It doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as it gets done. Grabbing credit is divisive and gives your opponents something to exploit. Don't air your dirty laundry.
Work at the Local Level -Legislators pay most attention to their constituents. Sometimes you can affect the key-decision-makers directly, but more often it is best done through local contacts with legislators, media, and allies.
Thank People That Help- Everybody likes a pat on the back.