Tips for arranging a meeting with a Government Representative/Minister


So you have returned from your Fellowship, your report is written and you are now ready to share everything you have learned with the Australian community and are in the process of connecting with your networks to do so. But have you thought about sharing it with Government Ministers?

It may be easier than you think.
 

Research

The first step is to do a bit of research.

  • Who is the relevant Minister?
  • What are the key issues he or she is grappling with at the moment?
  • How does your Fellowship topic provide insight into those key issues?

Request

Once you have figured out the alignment, the next step is to write, in one or two paragraphs, the reason for your request for a meeting and how it addresses the key issue.

The closer the alignment the more likely your request will be viewed positively. Be prepared to have to travel (at your cost) to Canberra (for Federal Ministers) and to your capital city (if your topic is more relevant to a State Minister) and without a great deal of flexibility to change the date or time.

Of course you can also extend an invitation for the Minister to visit your organisation (which is particularly useful if there is a good photo op and you are in an electorate ‘at risk’) but be aware it may be more difficult to attract them to your location in a timely fashion.

If you know (or can find) the Chief of Staff’s contact details you can email your request to him or her, otherwise look for contact details on the Minister’s electorate office website as well as their Ministerial office website. Just remember the Minister probably gets hundreds of requests – so make sure your request is short and concise.

For example

Dear Minister,

I have recently returned from visiting (insert countries) on a Churchill Fellowship which examined (insert topic); a subject that I note you are passionate about. During my trip I reached some conclusions and recommendations that may inform your thinking on (insert his or her issue); in particular (add one really insightful finding that applies directly to their area of interest) I would welcome an opportunity to meet with you either at your office or (insert alternative) and can be contacted on.....Yours sincerely


About

If they don’t know you personally add a very brief summary of yourself, where you work etc in order to enable them to do their own research if required.

Preparation

If you are lucky enough to get a meeting, the Minister’s office or his or her Department will develop a briefing note. You could assist them by sending your own briefing note approximately 2 weeks before the meeting – the more you can help the Minister’s staff the more popular you will be!

The Briefing Note should include a statement of who you are, your topic and the two or three key points which you will discuss. Keep it short – five or six bullet points.

Be aware that your meeting is likely to be 20 minutes or so – including the photo op! Prepare by thinking through how you can introduce your topic in a number of ways – so you are responding to or acknowledging his or her opening question but able to get to the point straight away.

Consider also creating something to leave behind; it may be a copy of your report with a summary that focuses on your recommendations or insights relevant to his or her topic of interest, or an infographic that summarises your main points. Make sure the link to your Churchill Report is included!

On the day

  • Be early (at least 30 minutes as there could be a queue to sign in)
  • Be prepared
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Be yourself


PN. This document was created by Churchill Fellow Ricki Smith who managed to secure a meeting with the Minister for Aged Care in 2017