Politicians and policy makers rely on lobbyists for information and different points of view. But to be a lobbyist who they listen to, you must be a highly skilled communicator who knows when to listen and when to speak.
Top three lobbying tips
Suggested by Luc Delany, founder of communications consultancy Delany & Co:
1. Be empathetic. Rather than going in all-guns-blazing for the position you are promoting, approach every meeting or communication from the perspective of the person you are lobbying. Nine times out of ten you will have requested the meeting, they will be under no obligation to listen to you, and will already have had every man and his dog trying to push their own position. So, be empathetic. Acknowledge and try to understand their position, even if it’s the opposite of yours. Figure out what motivates them and how coming round to your position will work for them and their own stakeholders.
2. Be patient. Lobbying is a marathon not a sprint. You are fairly unlikely to get a “win” from one meeting or letter. This means you have to build long-term relationships, ensuring that even if your target doesn’t immediately adopt your position, they at least understand it and you have their respect. People, organisations and situations change and your patient work may well bear fruit.
3. Be modest. If you do succeed in getting a key stakeholder onside, don’t claim it as your own victory. Remember, diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way!
Photograph: Yasunobu Sakata/Getty