When you meet the Minister …

unhappy-meeting2(Or senior public servants …)

If they’ve had advance notice of the meeting* they will be prepared, in most cases with a Briefing Note about your issues, and recommendations from subject-matter experts in the Department.

Have you previously connected with those Departmental experts and already got them on board with your proposal?

If not, you’re going to struggle to get past whatever is in that Briefing Note.  Do you know what’s in it, what hurdles you have to jump, why they might be recommending something different, in advance?  Are you ready to prove, concisely, that you’ve got a point and the Briefing Note is inadequate?

Most senior-level meetings are perhaps 30 minutes long – many Ministers and Departmental Chief Executives have meetings stacked up 45 minutes apart, which gives them a chance to make notes and read Briefing Notes between visitors.

But: depending on who you are meeting, you may well get less than three minutes** to make your case, before the first question sends you off at a tangent or puts you on the defensive.

Are you ready to prove your case in two minutes?  That’s 320 words if you speak briskly, and perhaps 250 at conversational speed.

Have you worked out what will persuade your particular audience, in 250 words?  That is, what they need to hear, not what you want to talk about?  How do you know you are inside their head?

Only if you have prepared, planned and researched, thoroughly!

* If they haven’t had advance notice of your issues, very few will agree, on the spot, to do more than get back to you.
** A three-minute interruption is good news: it means they are listening, thinking and engaged!

About Mike Smith

Partner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; sometime University lecturer; previously Government Relations consultant; before that Labor Party State Secretary in Northern Territory; union advocate with LHMU/United Voice in NT and NSW; hobby – election campaigns!

Posted on March 18, 2015, in Communication, Government decision-making, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Lobbyist, Planning, Public service, public service decision-making, Stakeholder engagement, Strategy. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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