Conduct Meet and Greets To Build Relationships with Legislators
A meet and greet is an event that a company hosts to exchange views with legislators on issues of concern. A meet and greet provides company representatives with an opportunity to develop relationships and discuss issues with individuals who are in positions to make decisions affecting your company.
This forum is an excellent way to give elected officials information on the products your company manufactures, including how they are produced and used as essential components of goods used in everyday life.
Developing relationships early in an individual’s term of office through a meet and greet can be a real help in influencing future public policy decisions affecting your company. Since a strong personal relationship with policymakers is essential to successful grassroots advocacy, a meet and greet is an effective tool in building long-term relationships.
In addition, a meet and greet can help your participants evaluate candidates for elective office. The event is an opportunity for candidates to deliver their messages and increase their visibility. Hosting or attending the meet and greet does not obligate you or your company's political action committee (PAC) to support the candidate in any way.
If you are conducting a meet and greet for all employees during a campaign season, there are Federal Election Commission rules that need to be observed. Check with legal counsel about making a meet and greet available if asked by opposing candidates. There is no obligation to comply with FEC rules if those attending are part of your company's restricted class (executives, managers, and shareholders).
One-Hour Format is Best
A meet and greet usually works best when kept to an hour in length. The guest can greet the participants and talk informally among them before sitting down to discuss the issues.
Since a meet and greet is an opportunity to showcase your company and discuss issues of concern, employees who are knowledgeable and articulate on the issues should participate in the event.
Begin the meeting by having the participants introduce themselves, mentioning their affiliations and issues of interest. After the self-introductions are complete, introduce the guest. Have the guest speak for 10-15 minutes about his or her views on the issues, the upcoming election, and prior work with or knowledge of your company.
Be sure to allow time for questions and answers and a dialogue on the issues. You may want to designate specific participants to discuss certain issues to ensure that all priority topics are discussed during the meeting.
Checklist for Conducting a Meet and Greet