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1. Don’t Criticize, Attack, or Humiliate 

A friend of mine who is a former staffer and now works for a top lobbying firm in town has told me repeatedly that criticizing a member of Congres or their Staff is the absolute worst thing you can do for your cause. Yet when the average citizen has an opinion on an issue, 9 times out of 10, the first thing they do is write a scathing letter, make an angry phone call, or yell at their representative at a town hall meeting or other local event. 

As Dale Carnegie points out in his book, How To Win Friends And Influence People when people are criticized or scolded, they never respond well and end up resenting their critic. 

Yelling at a staffer or a member of Congress is never a good advocacy strategy and does not influence their decisions

There is a famous story about the National Peace Corps Association, an organization that advocates for higher funding for the Peace Corps. One day, a representative from the group went to a fundraiser for a senator who oversees the appropriations committee controlling the Peace Corps budget.


The group had been calling and writing his staff and were upset that they had not convinced his office to support higher funding for the agency. When the advocate approached the senator to talk about the budget, his anger showed, and he came across as rude and aggressive in front of his supporters.


Even though the senator was somebody who typically would support the Peace Corps, because he was scolded in front of a group of supporters, he immediately resented the individual and his cause. While the advocate later wrote an apology letter, the damage had already been done.


People close to the senator reported that he was so enraged by the incident that he personally reduced the budget of the Peace Corps by $50 million.This is why you never criticize, condemn, or complain. It might feel good to get your frustration out, but it will most likely end up doing more harm for your cause than good