• WisPolitics


Thursday, September 22, 2016

 11:44 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Getting your goat: Meeting pet peeves

Nails on the chalkboard. Cracking knuckles. Constant pen clicking. Each of these noises can highly annoy someone – even on a good day.

Advocates can also give their meeting hosts that same highly annoyed feeling – not through noises – but by making some common meeting mistakes – mistakes advocates often don’t know they are making. Staff may not directly indicate their pet peeves, however, they may be rolling their eyes on the inside, subtly looking at their watch, or making a mental note to not take an advocate’s next meeting request – or certainly not schedule it with the boss.

Based on my own experiences, and an informal survey of staff, some common meeting pet peeves include:

Calling the official by his first name. It is great that an advocate donated money, campaigned for the official, went to grade school with him, attends the same church, or has known his buddy for a decade, however, if an advocate is meeting in the official’s office where the official holds a title that he worked hard to earn – an advocate should be respectful and use that title, whether the official is present or not.

Speaking of names, incessant name dropping. Staff get it, advocates want them to think they are important and know everyone, etc., however if name dropping is the method of choice to make that known, no staff person is being wowed. Focus on being prepared, organized and having a worthwhile ask. 

Being on the phone. A staff person or official cannot tell if a person is taking notes, reading the meeting agenda, or watching a video stream of his dog at home. Worse, sometimes they can directly see someone scrolling through Facebook. Avoid this by going old school and using pen and paper to demonstrate the meeting is important, time is valued, and the advocate is actively engaged and listening.

Not leading the meeting. Organize an agenda and have a plan of who speaks on what, and when. Additionally, resolve any conflicting issues or group disagreements before the meeting, not during it. There are few things worse for a staff person than needing to “lead” a meeting on a random topic someone else requested. It does not better help an advocate try to see where the staff person takes the issue, or what he knows, it just annoys staff, uses up valuable time an advocate could be addressing the crux of the matter, and limits the staff in actually asking relevant questions.

Saying “It’s always been done that way.” Treat these words like the plaque. Government is often viewed as slow, archaic, and filled with red tape. Leaders want to be innovative, fresh, and impactful where they can be. As a result, think about how programs can be enhanced and how the ask of a leader could improve something, not just check a standard box.


There are certainly more pet peeves out there. Feel free to email me at Wendy@1492communications.com with other examples for a future column. The good news is that if an advocate is guilty of any of these, it is never too late to become more aware and make positive changes. Staff and officials will be grateful, and it may even help improve an advocate’s meeting outcomes. 

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.


Back to DC Wrap main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

DC Wrap site feed


Advertisement
Advertisement

wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us

ABOUT THE BLOG

WisPolitics coverage of news from the nation's capital.

BLOG CONTRIBUTORS
JR Ross, David Wise

· DC Wrap site feed (RSS)

· Sign up for email delivery of the weekly DC Wrap column

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION

SENATE
· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

HOUSE
· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)

CONGRESSIONAL VOTE TRACKING

WISPOLITICS.COM D.C. PROFILES

· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
· May 2013: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA
· March 2013: Riemann uses PR skills, 'lunch-pail work ethic' to boost state interests in D.C.
· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC

ARCHIVE

· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
· November 2016
· December 2016
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications