All you need to be an advocate is a willingness to share your personal story. Whether you have psoriatic disease or care for someone who does, you have a unique perspective to share. Though we know your journey might fill volumes, when meeting with lawmakers, it’s important to be concise and to tell the parts of your journey that relate most closely to the ask for that meeting.
Your goal should be to work toward an “elevator speech” in which you can introduce yourself, your background, and your experience with psoriatic disease in 30 seconds to a minute. That way, you are prepared for short meetings and can expand on this base story when time allows.
Before putting together your elevator speech, start by writing out a full version of your story. This can be in full sentences, bullet points, or any other format that works for you. We’ve put together a document called “Documenting your journey” to guide you through this first step. This exercise will help you work toward an elevator speech and think about key moments you would want to share with lawmakers.
Meetings with your members of Congress, state representatives or their staff are often very short, leaving you only about 15 minutes to introduce yourself, tell your story and state your ask. It is important to come prepared. Mastering your elevator speech and thinking through how to tell your story in relation to the specific policy ask are key. Here are some tips for preparing for a meeting.
Practice Telling Your Story
As an expert in the area of psoriatic disease, you have valuable information to share! It’s important to be succinct but heartfelt and genuine while relating it to the policy asks. Mastering your elevator speech and thinking through how to tell your story in relation to the policy ask will set you up for a successful meeting.
- Learn about the “Advocacy Do’s and Don’ts”
- Plan an effective pitch using the “Hook, Line, and Sinker” method
Craft your personal story:
Gather Your Materials
Business cards make great leave-behinds for staffers. Infographics help them understand the impact and significance of psoriatic disease. One-pagers about the ask tell them what actions they can take. Before meetings, make sure you know:
- The bill number, sponsor(s) and number of supporters.
- How to explain what the bill does in one to two sentences.
- Who the bill would impact: is it people with psoriatic disease, chronic disease, or anyone needing health care? Knowing what other organizations support the bill will help answer this question.
Generally, you should dress professionally or in business casual attire for legislative meetings. Think of something you would wear to a job interview. However, you should also be comfortable. Advocating in state capitols or on the Hill can involve a lot of walking. Wear gym shoes or anything else you need to feel comfortable. Please don’t feel you must cover up your symptoms if you are currently flaring.