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Productive Ministerial Meetings

Ministerial Meetings are one of the most valuable engagement opportunities. Make sure to make the most of them.

Ministerial Meetings are one of the most valuable engagement opportunities. Here, we share our top tips and things to be mindful of when meeting with these key stakeholders.

Time-poor

Rule number one: Ministers are time-poor. Whether your meeting is in Parliament House or in a Commonwealth Parliamentary Office, remember that it may be one of two dozen they have in their diary that day. Be on time. Be prepared. Understand that a Minister may even have to cut your meeting short - their days rarely run to schedule.

Provide clear and simple information quickly

Politicians are used to cutting to the crux of an issue in a heartbeat so be mindful of spending too much time on pleasantries - all that's necessary is an introduction before getting straight to the issue.

When it comes to the key messages you want the Minister to understand, present them concisely, clearly and without superfluous information. What's the issue? Why should the Government care? What is your suggestion to address it? Any context given to help answer these questions should also be simple and clear.

Know who you're meeting with

One of the most common mistakes that Ministerial staffers loathe is someone who seems to know almost nothing about their Minister. This usually reveals itself by way of telling the Minister something they already know (which would have been obvious with a little research).

A Minister's views on your issue, as well as their personal areas of interest, can be ascertained by reviewing your notes from previous meetings, their recent speeches and by reading their inaugural speech.

The staff are the key to your relationship

Although meeting with a Minister can be a key opportunity to further your advocacy, the primary engagement with your issue will take place through relevant advisers and through them, the Minister's department.

Fostering a strong relationship with the staff you meet in the Minister's office is critical to progressing your issue. Engage with them regularly. Make offers to catch up without necessarily discussing your particular situation. Be a good gatekeeper of useful information and a source they can rely on at short notice.

The real work starts after the meeting

It's unlikely your issue will be resolved at the first meeting. It's important that you take the opportunity to provide the Minister's staff with an electronic version of anything you presented to the Minister and quickly follow up any request for further information.

It's also important to provide the Minister's office with any updates on your issue should circumstances change.

Say thank you

It's not only important to show gratitude for the initial meeting, but if your issue is resolved positively, be sure to thank the Minister and their office, verbally and in writing. In some circumstances it may be appropriate to issue a press statement acknowledging the Minister's support.

Want to see how Advoc8's rich MP biographies and exportable profiles can power your political meetings? Reach out for a demo today.

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