Skip to Content


How to Attend Coffee Hours

explore thedeepestwaters(1)

  1. First impressions matter. Take a moment for a warm greeting. Legislators meet with a lot of people. Make sure to introduce yourself and share your connection to the district (where you live or work).
  2. Stay focused. Coffee hours are on a walk-in, first-come-first-served basis for most representatives, not by appointment. Plan to speak for 5 minutes. Try to keep your planned conversation for each visit to 1 specific issue you are concerned about.
  3. Be prepared. It’s ok to bring notes or printouts of studies or articles you would like to share with your representative to inform him or her about an issue. Keep in mind that legislators are called upon to consider a variety of issues. While your representative may be diligent in doing research, he or she can’t be an expert on everything. Representatives appreciate information from well-informed constituents and groups. Be prepared to back up your position with concrete facts. Being prepared also means understanding the other side’s position and being able to respond to it .
  4. Personalize things. Share a personal story about your own experiences that explains why you are concerned about this issue. That can mean your family’s experience with an issue or your experience as a professional working with individuals experiencing the issue. Charts and graphs just do not humanize things the way you can be sharing a real life experience with your representative. If you have a loved one who would be impacted by a proposed law, consider bringing a photo to show while you share your personal story.
  5. Conclude with “the ask.” Remind your representative what you’re asking him or her to do. (E.g., “And that’s why I’m asking you to please vote no on House Bill ______.”) And don’t forget to thank him or her for their time.