Step 2: Prepare for your Conversation

Once you’ve customized the policy ask and the messages you’ll use to make your case, do your homework on the decision-maker and think about how you’ll prepare for the meeting and enter the conversation.

First, think about the decision-maker’s identity, stance and experience. 

  • Has the decision-maker recently made supportive comments or taken action? If so, you can thank them, ask what sparked that, and discuss briefly.

  • What shared priorities have you surfaced? Reiterating those can create common ground.

  • Assess the decision-maker’s perspective. Where do they live, and how has their own community (or even their family) become more diverse? Have they recently commented or taken action that shows their desire to advance equity? Have they taken a counter position? 

  • If they are a part-time legislator, what is their “other” job? How may that relate? 

  • If meeting with staff, do similar research.

Click on the icon 

to download our decision-maker mapping tool. 

Next, think about who should attend the meeting and what supporting information you’ll need.

  • Center people from the communities where policies need to focus. Determine speaking roles for each person.

  • Think through potential questions and opposition points. See detailed responses to common questions or discussion points for help.

  • Learn about the history of racism in your community, including how and why the community has changed over the years, and the impact that has had on people’s opportunity and well-being. See the Tips section.

  • Prepare handouts with key messages, data points and your specific ask.

  • Practice talking about racial equity with clarity.

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