Today a groundhog saw its shadow and proclaimed six more weeks of winter. Much like Phil Connors in the Bill Murray movie, staffers on Capitol Hill are seeing more of the same. Day in and day out, staff see the same quorum calls, the same dinging bell alerting them to floor votes, and the same fly-in advocate meetings.
Keep congressional staffers engaged by focusing on the best ways to provide them the best information. In a forum earlier this week, a longtime former healthcare policy Hill staffer and graduate professor said advocates should remember staffers “aren’t omniscient. I learn things by talking to people. You have to tell me.”
The young millennials of Capitol Hill have long days with many meetings, covering a lot of different policy areas. They value meetings which give them valuable information, teach them something, and make their lives easier. If you know about a policy area, bring that to your conversation. Explain how an issue is relevant; but don’t simply memorize numbers.
If you come to a meeting prepared and knowledgeable, and engage in a respectful and helpful manner, you can ensure the staffer remembers your meeting. If you separate yourself from the pack, and form a relationship, you build yourself into a go-to source for information.
- By Jared Payne