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Effective Communication with Elected Officials

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A presentation given at Public Meetings SOS on December 7 2012 by Jessica Adamson from CFM Strategic Communications.

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Effective Communication with Elected Officials

  1. 1. Effective  Communication   with  Elected  Officials   CFM  Strategic  Communications  
  2. 2. Understanding  your  Elected  Officials    “The  Legislature  is  a  microcosm  of  society”  –     Fmr.  Senator  Jeanette  Hamby  (R-­‐Hillsboro)    Life  in  the  political  world     Campaign  season     Governing     Personal  life    Remember:  Elected  officials  ran  for  office  to   help  their  constituents  and  improve  their   communities.  
  3. 3. Federal  Delegation    Bigger  challenges/new  opportunities     US  Senators  and  Congressmen  have  more   constituents,  more  travel,  and  more  demands  on   their  time     Increased  opportunities  for  visibility  of  projects   when  a  federal  official  tours  or  becomes  a  project   champion    A  tale  of  (at  least)  two  staff  teams       DC  and  District  staff  
  4. 4. Federal  Delegation    Best  practices:     Develop  relationships  with  district  and  DC  staff     Submit  requests  for  tours/appointments  as  far  in   advance  as  possible     Be  flexible  –  weekends/evenings/holidays     Provide  1-­‐2  page  background  briefs     Attend  town  hall  events,  be  visible     Provide  regular  updates  on  projects  to  the   delegation  –  both  good  news  and  challenging  news     Build  your  communications  around  their  interests/ committees  
  5. 5. State  and  Local  Leaders    The  life  of  a  Citizen  Legislator     Annual  sessions     Small  staff     Balancing  legislative,  work,  family  and  campaign   duties/obligations     Difficult  to  obtain  media  recognition  for  their  work    Local  Leaders     Many  are  volunteers  with  varying  expertise     Usually  get  involved  because  of  a  local  issue  
  6. 6. State  and  Local  Leaders    Best  Practices     Develop  relationships  with  state  legislators,  local   leaders  and  their  staff     Invite  them  to  community  meetings,  tours,  project   briefings     Sign  up  for  newsletter  (usually  email)  distribution  lists     Attend  town  hall  events  and  constituent  coffees     Brief  local  leaders  about  problems  before  they   become  public     Build  your  communications  around  their  interests/ committees  
  7. 7. Top  Tips  for  Communicating  with  all  Elected  Officials    During  a  meeting,  make  your  key  points  first.    Always  follow-­‐up  with  a  thank  you  note  and  more   information.    Never  ambush  or  surprise  elected  officials    Use  smart  communication  –  not  mass   communication  –  as  your  tool  of  choice    Develop  long  term  relationships.    Politics  makes   strange  bedfellows.  
  8. 8. Questions?   Contact  Information   Jessica  Adamson   CFM  Strategic  Communications   1100  SW  Sixth  Avenue,  Suite  1425   Portland,  OR       503.294.9120   www.cfm-­‐