COMPASS Policy Prep Primer: Posts for Engagement With Policy Makers


Jun 5, 2018


3 Minute Read


If you’re in Washington, D.C. this week for either Capitol Hill Ocean Week or the International Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans Conference, you may be planning to make the most of your time in town by also meeting with some policy makers (and if you aren’t, we hope you’ll consider it!). We’ve pulled together some of our top policy posts to help you prep, no matter where you are in the process.

Things to think about: 

Figuring out when, how, and whether to engage can feel overwhelming. Our Karen McLeod shares some ideas for finding the opportunity that will work for you.

Want to Affect Policy Change? Board your Train of Opportunity

Your science can play a number of different roles in the policy process. Chad English (COMPASS Director of Science Policy 2007-2015) shares options.

Your Science is a Multi-Tool

It’s important to be clear about the role you want to play in policy conversations, and to understand your own motivation for doing so, before the conversation starts. Chad English describes his experience on both sides of the table.

Know Thy Role and Thy Bias

A good navigator can make a huge difference in connecting to the people who can use your knowledge. Chad English provides guidance on identifying navigators to help you be in the right place at the right time.

Things to do in advance:

Capitol Hill has its own pace and culture, and understanding it will help make your meetings more successful. Our Heather Mannix provides an overview of what to expect, and helpful tips for how to prep.

Cracking the Capitol Hill Nut

Start off on the right foot by sending a meeting request that’s clear, relevant, and timely. Our Sarah Sunu shares specifics.

Before You Hit Send: How to write effective meeting requests

Planning and practicing what you want to cover during your conversation is critical, and filling out the Message Box will help. Here’s the Workbook to guide you through it.

The Message Box Workbook

A great one-pager can be an excellent resource both for you (during the meeting) and for the person you’re meeting with (after you leave). Learn more about what goes into a great one-pager.

Preparing for a Meeting: How to craft a great one-pager

During the meeting: 

How much is too much, and how much is just right? Calibrating the information you share for the person you’re talking to makes a big difference in their ability to understand and use what you’re saying. Chad English untangles that knot.

A Policymaker Walks into the Forest…

During many meetings, eventually you’ll be asked either “What do you want from me?” or “What should we do?” Chad English helps handle your options for how to respond.

The Agony of the Ask

…But What Should We Do?

We hope these posts provide you with some ideas for how to prep for engagement—from understanding the landscape to fielding questions during meetings. We’d love to hear how things go!

Did you like this article? Share it out with your community.