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Zooming Through the World of Lobbying, During a Pandemic

May 20, 2020

Coffee. Answer emails. Call. Conference call. Email. Zoom. Walk around the house. Zoom. Call. Lunch. Zoom. GoToMeeting. (Who still uses GoToMeeting?) Call. Return call. Yell at the kids to settle down and get back to work. Call. Call. Tell the kids they are done for the day. Zoom. Answer emails. Start dinner. Or, maybe have a glass of wine and watch my husband start dinner.

That is my day in a nutshell. Or rather, every one of my days in a nutshell. Some days are a bit more exciting; these days include Zoom social calls in the evening.  Now those are the days!

In some ways, I feel like a telemarketer, or a customer service representative. Those are not bad professions, I don’t mean to diminish them, they are just not my profession. Politics/law/lobbying is my profession.  That work has always been an in-person, show-up, type of job. A “get in the ring” job. A “wrestle it out” job. You get the picture.

But not right now. Now, I am home for the safety of all. For my clients, my friends, and my family.

So, as much as I privately dread it, I am learning how to be my best lobbyist self on a conference call or Zoom meeting. As I am constantly reminded, we are all are navigating the new normal (is it still new?) and there is no manual for this type of change. Well, at least there wasn’t, I am sure someone may have written one by now, but I haven’t read it. So, I, like millions of others, try to do my best without a manual.

I have dusted off the old 10 best tips for lobbyist and modified a few of them for the COVID-19 era.

    • Rule one for lobbyist is to always look polished. And to this end, I have started to actually wear scarves and jackets. And maybe a skirt on the bottom, or maybe a pair of sweats. The bottom half does not count – no one sees it. Also, never heels – not wearing heels and tights is the BEST part of COVID.
    • Rule two for lobbyist is to perfect your pitch, know your stuff, and know your audience. Well, maybe that is three rules, but this rule is especially important on Zoom or conference calls. Although people can no longer remember the day of the week, individuals have fine-tuned their BS meters. It is extra important to know my stuff. This is the time to learn it.
    • Rule three is to keep it brief and to the point. This may seem counter intuitive to the previous rule, but it is not. I tend to linger, or moreover, get lost in the weeds. If someone asks me for the time, I shouldn’t tell them how a watch works or who sold the most watches last year. Keep it to the question at hand. Also associated with this rule is ending a Zoom call or conference call properly. I either linger, or abruptly end the encounter. I know there is a happy medium, but I have yet to perfect it. The struggle is real.
    • Rule four is respect everyone’s time. As such, I will end my list because the first three, plus this one, are enough in the COVID-19 era.

So, I continue on. I am lucky. Everyone close to me is currently healthy and safe.  I am writing this blog post in a comfy chair in my backyard. I have a fizzy water in my hand, and I am half watching my thirteen-year-old daughter and one-year-old puppy run around. It is important to value this day. However, tomorrow it will be back to coffee. Answer emails. Call. Conference call. Zoom. Another Zoom… You get the picture. Peace and be safe.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.