I recently posted “Five points to better public affairs” and that was a rather well received post. But some of the comments I received got me thinking and I have now 10 more points varying from the low basic to the high strategic.
Some of them make me feel like a school marm, but they are nevertheless important to mention:
- Get your basics right – it cannot be said and repeated too often.
- On the phone introduce yourself. Sounds like an odd basic advice but you’d be surprised how often we receive phone calls with an anonymous voice from an unknown entity asking to speak with “our” MEP.
- Spell out your acronyms in e-mails and letters
Unless “your” acronym is fairly well-known like the “UN” spell it out at least once in every mail, say the in signature. To think that everyone knows your acronym and what it stands for is just plain not true.
- Check your address registers
At least once per year, check your address register and update it. You don’t want your efforts to be in vain just because your messages end up with someone whom doesn’t work with your issues. This goes for every level you are working on, tedious work I know, but it will make you look professional and that can’t be bad.
- Come prepared
If you have a legislative proposal you want us to consider bring it with you in print version and send it to us first so we might have the opportunity to study it first. You’d be surprised how many that seems to be turning up for a “cuppa.”
- Send your amendments and proposals before the vote!
Yes, many out there send us your amendments after the vote. Or just too late for us to take them into account. If you are uncertain when the vote will take place, ask us. Or call the committee administrator.
- Don’t forget the “home boys”!
All EU legislation will be implemented on national level, and thus will affect 27 countries. The member states have national parliaments which are just as important as the European Parliament. Very often an MEP wants to be re-elected and s/he is still re-elected on a national level. The national specialists are very knowledgeable on their subjects and important people do involve in your lobbying. There are also national parliamentarians you should speak with as they too can influence the MEP.
- Meet with the European Commission
As Erik Akse http://be.linkedin.com/in/erikakse/ pointed out in a comment to my earlier post, don’t forget the European Commission when lobbying in Brussels, they are drafting all the legislation and your points might get in at an earlier point in the drafting process. They are often a year ahead the Parliament so to say that lobbying is a lengthy process is just the first name.
- Meet with subject matter specialists
Every party and committee has subject matter specialists working with a proposal. They might not affect the voting but the better informed they are the better they can do their job. Meet with them directly or ask them to be invited to your meeting with the MEP.
- Transparency, Transparency, Transparency
Don’t hide your lobbying efforts; you’ll look stupid when found out. It will happen and you can just as well tell people yourself and control the story as look like some Shady Sam trying to influence under the radar.