On Thursday, March 30, Government Affairs Industry Network (GAIN) kicked off their GAIN Mentors workshop series, ‘D.C. Decorum’, focusing on proper-yet-distinctive methods of conduct to help participants set themselves apart from the crowd in D.C.
“Do you have a minute to discuss…” focused on navigating the internal Capitol Hill scheduling system. The four panelists included: Adam Wood, Policy Director at the Republican Main Street Partnership, Elyssa Malin, Healthcare Advisor for Congressman James Langevin, Tim D. Hysom, Chief of Staff for Congressman Alan Lowenthal, and Shana Teehan, Communications Director for Senator Luther Strange.
Panelists answered a wide range of questions, addressing everything from when to send in a request for appointments to what they look for when checking their emails. The panelists stressed the importance of constituents when scheduling a meeting and building relationships with individual offices to make sure that the next meeting scheduled will not be difficult to make.
The panel also reminded participants that Members and Hill staff are often busy. Be prepared with three “asks,” practice delivering them and be sure to follow up after. When meeting with a Member of Congress or staffer, set yourself up as an expert and a resource to the office.
Most importantly, meetings on the Hill are like dating. Start off with an icebreaker. Talk about the weather, lunch, or your walk to the office and of course, always be polite.
The panel was moderated by Grace Boatright, Director of Engagement at Unfold.
Special thanks to Van Scoyoc Associates for hosting and Unfold, the sole sponsor of the GAIN Mentor program.