Lobbying is an attempt to influence legislative action on an issue. An array of people, from individuals to big multinational corporations, spend a chunk of money on their campaigns and negotiations to direct legislative action towards a favorable result. The wealthy among them, of course, have a lot of stakes, as a result of which they are often notoriously involved in the lobbying corridors.
But, the act of lobbying is a cause of concern in democratic societies where the elected representatives are duty-bound to represent the interests of the public at large, not a select group of people. Anti-lobbyists allege that this results in a democratic deficit and causes misdirection of duties away from public interest and towards private interests of the rich and powerful. At the same time, it is not rational to extend a blanket ban on lobbying; the only route is regulation which many countries have begun to engage in.
Now we won’t dive deep into the debate. Our focus is centered on how the wealthy can engage in responsible and effective lobbying. There is no gainsaying that the wealthy will lobby because it must preserve its interests; the real question lies in how it does that. It is there they have to exercise restraint and responsibility. In this article, I have enumerated a few tips that can result in interactive, consequential, and beneficial lobbying on the part of the wealthy. So, without further ado, let us take a look at those tips.
Know Your Bit
You will have to present your ideas to the legislators. Those individuals have been in this domain for a long time now to segregate the workable from the unworkable. Lobbying is a matter of persuasion, and the art of persuasion lies pretty much on how much you know about what you want. Just because you want, certain things in a certain way, this does not mean you should get them. There will be several other lobbyists in the hall waiting for the opportune moment. How do you steal the limelight? Prepare your pitch, research the essential facts, back up your demands with fresh data, and provide them with comprehensive information on what works well and what may not work well. The legislators must feel that you know what you are here for.
Study Your Audience Very Well
Those representatives have come from all over the country. Each of them belongs to a race, creed, social system, economic background, and culture. It is natural to expect them to hold different views about the issue at hand. As I noted before, just because you like it doesn’t mean they should too. If you happen to know your audience, then study the background of every one of them. Is your issue a matter of contention among those with conservative backgrounds? Then, you will have to tune your pitch that can address their respective reservations and answer their doubts. Mere facts and research won’t go a long way if they don’t come with attention to the temperament of the audience. If you know your audience well, then you will be armed with the right kind of tools to handle the divergence of opinions.
Don’t sound pushy
Of course, you have your research and money to back up the pitch. But, that doesn’t mean that the legislators won’t have their own questions and worries. There may be occasions when you are asked questions, one after another, and this can frustrate you. Many times, lobbyists are found to be pushy or intimidating, and this is where they go terribly wrong. Patience is a virtue, and you must exhibit it as much as you can. Don’t let impatience get the best of you, tempting you to become pushy about your demands. Quite possibly, you will be asked to deliver multiple presentations before a final call is made.
Networking goes a long way
One doesn’t acquire wealth in the absence of a well-connected, resourceful network. Use it. Get references who can stand by your demand, validate your credentials, and offer support to your endeavors. It is always good to offer legislators a list of references to whom they can contact, verify your background and the demand in question, and engage in independent investigation. The idea is to let the legislators know that you know what you are doing, and there isn’t anything to hide from them. Your network will assist you in further polishing an image you attempt to build and project to the legislators. If your network comprises influential persons, it will add credence to your standing.
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