Quick Tips

When meeting with federal candidates it is important to:

  • Use the meeting(s) to build the relationship
    • Ask them what you can do for them? Is there information you can provide?
    • How can you help them deliver the message? If they are supportive, are there anecdotes, stories or data that would assist them in making the case for health research?
  • Use clear, simple and concise messages
    • Motivating messages hit an emotional chord. You need to reach people emotionally first, and then educate them. Stories and anecdotes are extremely helpful.
    • Evidence-based messages – keep it simple. Messages are designed to achieve goals. Make sure that your messages are supported by data.
  • Tailor the message for the target audience
    • Do some research about the person you are meeting with to understand their background and their previous experience in, knowledge of, and record on health research and health innovation.
    • It is equally important to be aware of the political context within which you are making the case. Currently, productivity growth and ability to improve Canadians’ standard of living are key political issues.
  • Use plain language
    • To communicate your message effectively, avoid using complex, hard-to- follow and highly nuanced arguments. It is essential to engage your audience by using language that everyone can understand and that invites the person into a dialogue with you.

You influence with your message, but mostly with your passion for health research, health innovation and your experience. Your influence will grow with every visit.

What to expect DURING the meeting

  • Expect to make the case: Action needed now
    • There is a lot of social issue noise out there. You need to distinguish the what from the so what.       While it is important to say that health research improves health and stimulates productivity growth, you will distinguish your cause from others if you say: we change people’s lives, and here is how.
  • Expect to listen and to ask questions
    • Don’t speak for too long. Encourage questions and discuss them. It is important to discover the candidate’s views first hand. Listen to what they say and be prepared to begin from their position in making your case.
  • Expect tough questions
    • Why should we invest any more dollars in health research? What is our return on investment so far? How are increased investments in health research going to help us deal with other pressing social and economic issues?
    • If you can, prepare an answer for these questions, in advance, so that your case is more credible.
    • During the meeting, if you do not have an answer, commit to getting back to them with an answer.
  • Expect to ask what they would be prepared to do
    • If elected, are they prepared to speak to colleagues, Ministers, the PM?
    • If elected, are they prepared to ask a question in the House? Prepare a brief?
    • How can you help?

What to expect FROM the meeting

  • Expect a new relationship
    • With the candidate and with his/her staff
  • Expect to follow-up with the candidate and/or his/her staff
    • You initiate!
  • Plan to debrief following the meeting
    • What went well?
    • How did the candidate respond?
    • Was this response due to personal interest or other circumstances?
    • What should the next step be?