5 Tips for a Public Meeting
Elected officials frequently host public meetings, sometimes called town halls, while they are home in their district. These public meetings are held so legislators can hear, and respond directly to, constituent concerns. The following tips may help you prepare to attend a public meeting:
- Identify when the next meeting is and plan to attend.
Many elected officials manage their public meetings differently. Contact your legislator’s local office to find out when and where the next meeting is, or ask to be added to their invitation list, if they have one. When you learn about a public meeting, plan to attend and invite other business owners to go with you.
- Prepare questions in advance.
Have a specific question or two in mind, such as asking the legislator’s position on a specific bill or issue that is important to you and your business.
- Identify current issues.
Familiarize yourself with NFIB issues to see what is currently being considered at the state or federal level. If your legislator is in agreement on an issue with an NFIB position, publicly thank them for their position. This reinforces their decision and encourages them not to change their mind. Learn where your legislator stands on key small business issues: NFIB vote record.
- Introduce yourself.
Whether or not you ask a question, take advantage of the opportunity to meet your legislator and introduce yourself to them and their staff. Let them know you’re a concerned business owner. Give them your business card and offer yourself as a resource in the event they might want a business owner’s opinion on an issue. You may also tell them you belong to NFIB, the nation’s largest small business association that can help address any questions they may have.
- Follow-up with a thank you letter.
Thank your legislator for hosting the meeting. Let them know you attended. If you asked a question during the meeting, whether or not you agree with their answer, thank them. If you did not ask a question during the meeting, you can ask it in your letter. Offer yourself as a business or industry resource in case they have any questions you can answer.