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Planning a trip to Canberra (or other Parliaments)
Everything you need to know about planning a trip to Canberra as a government relations professional
Identify the purpose and outcomes sought - This is the first and most critical step – without a clear objective of your “wants” your trip may not be impactful.
Identify stakeholders relevant to your issue based on interest or influence - Use tools such as GovConnex to determine which representatives are most vocal on your issue – this should shape who you meet and increase your chances of a positive outcome.
Request formal meetings - Send your meeting requests at least two weeks in advance (ideally four to six weeks) to the stakeholders you plan to meet with. You can read our guide on how to write a meeting request here.
Prepare briefing note(s) for meetings outlining key facts and outcomes sought - Briefing notes should be prepared for all meetings you attend. You can read our guide on how to write a briefing note here.
Plan how to get in and around Parliament house - If you are not a parliamentary pass holder you will have to be signed in by one. They will then have to escort you at all times during your stay in the parliamentary hallways.
Conducting your meetings - Prior research is essential when meeting with parliamentarians or their staff:
- Make sure you are across the issues of the day – the political story of the day will shape much of your small talk.
- Clearly state the objective of the meeting.
- Ask the stakeholder their level of understanding/position on the details/background to issue you are there to discuss.
- Ask if they have any questions about your organisation, your asks or the issue.
- Outline key facts.
- Pitch for your desired outcomes.
- Leave a copy of your briefing note and any supporting research for the stakeholder to read after the meeting.
Follow up - Make sure you send a thank you and note on any action items the day after your meeting. It is generally appropriate to follow up again two weeks later if outstanding action items remain.
Look for other events to attend - Find social and professional events at places such as the National Press Club – this can be a casual way to meet with a number of relevant stakeholders.
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About GovConnex Research
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