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Members of Parliament have hundreds, sometimes thousands of meetings a year - Here are nine tips to help you stand out and make sure your issue is front and centre.
- Keep it short
Whether it is a letter to an MP or if you have time with a candidate. Pith is everything. Letters should be no more than two pages, and the person reading the letter should be able to ascertain the request within two paragraphs.
- What is your impact on their electorate?
How many of your customers live in their electorate? Perhaps you have a list of stakeholders organised by electorate. If you have a metric that can be measured by electorate, include it in your collateral to the MP to demonstrate personalised information and how your issue affects their community.
- Tailor your message to their ideology
Don't just hand over your annual report, include a one-page letter that references the job creation ideals of your organisation (if the MP is from the Coalition), or the positive environmental impact your customers have (if the MP is active in the environment space).
- Offer locations for media opportunities
This will transform your relationship with the MP or candidate. Leaders, Ministers, and Shadow Ministers always look for places to visit during elections. Offering site visits, introductions to your employees or clients will mean a lot to the MP or candidate and their campaign teams. Suggested wording for your letter or phone conversation: Please know that we are more than happy to provide a site tour of our X facility in the Y electorate if you or visiting Minister would like to visit. This can be arranged at short notice.
- Candidates are very accessible
Often their mobile number is listed on their website, and you can call them directly. Also, even major Party candidates who have little chance in safe seats against solid opponents are important to speak to. They often end up as Cheifs of Staff or future MP's themselves.
- Caretaker period
Once the election is called and the government goes into the caretaker period - significant decisions and regulations are not made until after the election. So don't expect Ministers or MPs to be available to make significant changes at this point.
- Every MP is marginal
Safe seat MP's do not like to be reminded they are in safe seats. They have often worked very hard to win the community's confidence to have that high (and safe) margin. It is not advisable to suggest to any MP or candidate that their election "is in the bag"
- Research, research, research
Read their inaugural speech (and consider working a worthy element into your conversation if need be), look up the most common profession in their electorates, check out their mentions in the news. Do not go into meetings blind on the MP or candidate you are about to meet.
- Reach out to them before you 'need' them
If staffers have seen letters from you or if you have met an MP previously, you have a much higher chance of access when you really 'need' an MP due to critical regulatory changes. Long term MP (and staff) engagement gets the best results.