Prior to the meeting, your lobby team should get together for practice. Decide what will be said and who will say it. Decide the key points you want to make. Practice making them. Anticipate questions and practice your answers too. Here are some tips:
Know your audience. Most politicians will be interested in what you have to say. Some will be supportive, others will be preoccupied with their own interests or may already be predisposed to disagree with your position. Don’t let this distract you.
Know your subject. Speak about what you know and how it affects the people you know. If you get asked a question you cannot answer, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Offer to get back to them with information (and be sure that you follow through).
Be clear and stick to the point. Confine your comments to the issue at hand, but don’t make the mistake of presuming everyone understands your point of view. Speak with confidence and remember that your job is to persuade your audience that your opinion matters.
Listen. Try to determine where there is agreement and the reason for disagreement. Avoid getting into arguments, never lecture and never make things personal. If you find there is support for your position, ask for help with persuading decision-makers at higher levels of government.
Leave the door open. Work to prevent outright rejection of your position. Focus on areas of agreement, not on the differences.
Don’t be discouraged by failure. Not everyone will agree with you or be supportive. Remember, the importance of lobbying is to make your position known. Changing minds always takes time, which is why lobbying is more than a one-time event.