Don’t you hate it when someone tells you a fun or interesting fact and then when you use it in another conversation, and take credit for it (don’t act like you don’t, everyone does it), you embarrassingly discover that the information was inaccurate? Well this may not come as a surprise, but congressional staff hate it too. Like really hate it.
According to The Congressional Communications Report released this summer by George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, Columbia Books, and Lobbyists.info, one of the largest determining factors in getting congressional staff to meet (and re-meet) with you is whether you can provide “credible, reliable information.” Congressional staffers can have anywhere between 1 and 10 issue areas on their plate, and due to the fluidity of the legislative calendar they usually need to acquire credible information on a certain issue as quickly as possible. When that moment arises where a vote comes up on one of your issues and that staffer is looking for the latest information, they are going to remember that when they met with you months ago that you provided them with reliable information. As a result, when they choose who they are going to consult for information you will be at the top of their list. On the other hand, if you give them faulty information and they use it, they will look bad in front of their boss and likely never consult you again. So while you’re focusing on which pieces of super-useful information you’re going to provide them with, make sure you take some time to make sure that information is also super-accurate. It’s worth the extra time to double and triple-check your facts – It can be the difference between making or breaking a relationship with a staffer.