How to host a district team meeting for you and your fellow constituents.
Before you have a meeting with your legislator it can be good to host a meeting with your fellow constituents to discuss how you will approach your legislator in the most strategically sound fashion. Below we explain how to host a district team meeting for you and your fellow constituents before and after you have a small group meetings with your legislators.
Step 1- Find out which two state legislators represent you.
- Legislators prefer to meet with their own constituents so use our Find Your Legislators tool to find out which two Oklahoma state legislators represent you.
Step 2- Check to see if there is a TOK district team meeting scheduled for either of your state legislative districts.
- As district meetings are scheduled, we post them on the Together Oklahoma and Friends google calendar and on Together Oklahoma events on Facebook.
Step 3- Discover if there other members of Together Oklahoma in either of your two legislative districts.
- You can find out by filling out the new membership form and/or posting the question in the Together OK Facebook Group. You can also invite friends and neighbors from your district to join you in meeting about your legislators.
Step 4 – Go to a meeting of constituents in one of your two state legislative districts.
- 3A- Find the next meeting of your fellow district members in your district Slack channel and attend.
- 3B- If you check to find a meeting in your district and don’t find one in your district Slack channel, you can follow these instructions:
- Ask fellow members of one of your two state legislative districts if they would like to have a meeting. To ask you can use TOK Slack (more about that here), using the Together OK Facebook Group, use some other method, or all of the above.
- If your fellow district members are interested in meeting, suggest a time and place to meet. I like to suggest 2 or 3 options so that as many people as possible can give their input. You can just post it as a question or you can use a free Doodle poll or some other survey tool.
- Choose a time that can work well for you and several of your fellow constituents, let everyone know when and where you have chosen, and let us know when and where you will be meeting by filling out this little form.
Step 5 – Follow Together Oklahoma’s suggested meeting communication methods for a good district meeting.
- Make sure someone in your district fills out this little form so we know that you are having a district meeting. We want to be sure we can contact you if there is some important news you should know before the meeting or you can let us know if you need extra support.
- Decide who will take notes on your district meeting so you’ll be able to share what happened with your district members who were unable to attend.
- If there are more than 3 people attending the meeting, decide who will moderate the meeting to make sure that your district team accomplishes your goals for the meeting.
- Start on time and end on time to respect all your fellow meeting attendees.
- Leave your ego outside before the meeting begins. This is not a contest to see who is the best advocate but a great opportunity to respectfully listen and share to get to know how we can work together for a better state budget.
- Decide the goals of your meeting such as: What do we know about our legislator, when can we set up a meeting with this legislator, how can we use what we know of our legislator to inform how we approach meeting with the legislator about the revenue options, and who will take on which roles in our small group meetings with our legislator.
- Report back to the larger district group. Remember that there will always be other people in your district, who can’t join you in person, but your legislator represents them too. If you don’t engage with your fellow constituents at all, you are unwisely keeping yourself uninformed about information you need to know.
- By and large Together Oklahoma members are a great bunch of folks who will listen to and support each other! If you run into any issues and need some support, don’t hesitate to let us know in TOK Slack.
Other tips for good meetings:
Don’t yuck my yum (if you disagree with someone please do so politely)
Pass the mic (try to be brief in your comments so that many points of view can be heard)
ELMO (Enough Lets Move On or ELMO is a reminder that it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of discussing one detail for too long but we need to stay focused on creating and implementing a strategy without turning district meetings into a place to gripe but not actually get anything accomplished.)
Move up Move back (If you speak often offer space for others. If you are usually quiet make your voice heard. We need everyone one at the table and we all have responsibility to make sure we are self monitoring and being aware of others.)
Assume Positive Intentions (If someone says something you don’t like, ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand their intentions before you get upset. If someone is getting upset ask them questions and help them feel heard so they can calm down and clearly communicate.)
Watch your words (Words are just words, however, creating an effective space for open discussion means being aware of ways that language and certain words can effect people. A good guideline is to use “I” language and focus on your own personal feelings and experience.)
Oops/Ouch (If someone doesn’t watch their words you can say Ouch and briefly explain how you feel about what they said. If you say something that you realize may have caused hurt you can say Oops and ask for patience to restate what you are trying to explain in language that works for the group. This allows us to acknowledge the words without dwelling.)
Thank you for taking the time to develop these relationships! Legislators will come and go but many of your fellow constituents will be your neighbors and allies through them all. If there is any way our TOK leadership team can help you better prepare for your district team meetings, please do not hesitate to let us know at email@example.com