Step 4: How to Win Friends and Influence Politicians
This is our mission: To meet with every Congressman between now and
November 7 to explain how VAWA is violating civil rights and breaking up
Last week's Alert laid out the Talking Points for the meeting:
http://www.mediaradar.org/alert20060716.php. But a successful meeting also
depends on your ability to present yourself in the best possible light.
Here are a few tips how to get the Congressman or staff to become
persuaded of the need to call for civil rights hearings:
Wear business attire. That means a jacket and tie for men. Act in a
Be courteous and friendly. Comment about some of the work the
Congressman has done that you appreciate. Anything to make a connection.
When you start your presentation, get to the point quickly: the
massive civil rights violations under VAWA. Then work through the
Talking Points. Practice your presentation in advance so it comes across
Do not get argumentative or angry. This will only hurt your
credibility. Try to find an area that you can agree on.
Do not mention your own case. The purpose of your visit is to avoid
future VAWA abuses, not to resolve your personal legal issues.
Play to the Congressman's or staffer's interests:
If the person is a strong supporter of Constitutional
protections, then emphasize how VAWA violates due process and civil
If the person believes strongly in equality, then explain how
VAWA promotes sex-based discrimination.
If the Congressman is known to be a strong supporter of VAWA,
then emphasize how VAWA addresses an important social problem, and you
have suggestions to make the law better.
If you are asked a question that you can't answer, tell them you will
get back to them later with the information.
At the end of the meeting, ask them what their impression is. Ask if
they have any suggestions on what you should do next. Don't press your
case too hard.
Ask if there is anything you can do for them such as getting
statistics, etc. It may be as simple as keeping them updated.
End the meeting on a friendly, positive note.
Date of RADAR Release: July 24, 2006
Want to improve the chance that they'll pay attention to your letter? Click here.
Register now for the National Family Law Reform Conference, to be held September 15-16 in Alexandria, Virginia (near Washington, DC). The conference will address the crisis of family law, including biased family courts, false allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, and much more. For more information: http://www.acfc.org/site/Calendar?view=Detail&id=100021
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org