Posts Tagged ‘David Rehr’

David Rehr: 7 tips for Embassy Relations with Capitol Hill

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

David Rehr is author of The Congressional Communications Report and has been listed as one of the nation’s top lobbyists.  He is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at The George Washington University.  David can be contacted  at davidrehr@guw.edu. 

LAST WEDNESDAY, I was honored to participate in the Country Promotion Strategies Conference: a gathering of over 200 ambassadors and embassy personnel for a day of presentations on how to best maneuver Washington’s corridors of power.

While there, I shared with the crowd seven tips that foreign diplomats should consider when interacting with Congress.

The research below comes from The Congressional Communications Report (hereafter CCR), a landmark study on communication methods used by lobbyists in their dealings with congressional staff.

1. Provide credible information:

According to CCR, the most successful way to gain influence and access with congressmen and their staff is to provide credible information. At least this is what 46% of survey respondents thought, which is more than double the support given to the next most popular answers:

2. Have an existing relationship with members/staff (28%)
3. Have a reputation of seeking meetings (12%).

Neither brand nor money is at the top of the list. This indicates a playing field far more level than conventional wisdom would have it.

2. Use email:

This is the preferred method of contact with congressional staff. In fact, 67% of staff prefer email, while:

18% prefer the phone,
10% prefer meeting in person,
4% prefer mailed letters, and a paltry
0.1% prefer social media.

3. …and when you do use email, make it short and to the point:

Not just because this is easier for the recipient, but also because it’s easier for the phone. Mobile devices used on Capitol Hill are probably different from those used by your embassies. CCR shows that only 9% of Hill staff use iPhones, 2% use the Android, and a whopping 85% use Blackberry. The implication is that you need to minimize graphics, superfluous information, and anything that impedes the ability to click on your message. If it takes more than a couple of seconds to load, it will be deleted or skipped.

4. Stay in touch with the Congressional Research Service:

CCR shows that the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the most valuable source of information for congressional staff. This is followed by:

2) Academic/issue experts
3) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
4) Other Capitol Hill Staffers

Embassies should therefore consistently review how their country is being portrayed by these sources. They should also consider how and where to make a positive impact.

5. Improve your position on Google:

While staff rated the CRS and issue experts the most valuable sources, their preferred sources were slightly different:

1) Internet Searches
2) CRS
3) Other Capitol Hill Staffers
4) Relevant Federal Agencies

This means embassies should be Googling their country’s name to see what comes up. Whatever is there will be the foundation of many a staffer’s judgments.

6. Understand what actually influences decisions:

CCR measured 16 different lobbying tools. Here are several to keep in mind:

1) Reliable and concise information
2) Constituent support
3) Hiring of former members of Congress

It is important to note that there are substantial differences between Republican and Democratic staff on which tools are most effective.

7. Be cognizant of a Hill staffer’s daily routine:

Everyone knows that Hill staffers are busy, and CCR certainly confirms that. The average staffer receives 134 emails daily, with only 18% reading all of them. Some other stats:

20% of Hill staff visit more than twenty websites daily
25% conduct more than 20 web searches daily
77% meet with two or less lobbyists daily
72% meet with two or less other Hill staffers daily

Click here for a full version of The Congressional Communications Report. 

Lobbyists.info set to release report on landmark Congressional Communications Report

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by Vbhotla

As the writer of both Lobbyblog and one of the authors of this report, I am extremely excited to announce that it is nearly complete and almost ready for sale. While I have gone out of my way to avoid mentioning all the work that has gone into this report the past few weeks, I want to share with LobbyBlog readers part of the release for the Report so that they can know about this landmark study.

Lobbyists.info, in partnership with the Original U.S. Congress Handbook, George Washington University School of Political Management, and research partner ORI, is set to release the landmark “Congressional Communications Report.”

The report is the result of one of the largest surveys ever completed of Congressional staff and the lobbying community. Of nearly 3,000 responses, more than 700 came directly from Congressional staff.
“We have been overwhelmed by the number of surveys we’ve gotten back. To get this kind of response from the Congressional community and lobbying industry is incredible” remarked Dr. David Rehr, one of the survey’s creators. “I’m unaware of any Hill survey that is even close to the kind of numbers we’ve been seeing.”

Also shocking is the disconnect the numbers reveal between lobbyists and staff. “Lobbyists with 10, 15, even 20 years of experience may no longer know how best to interact with this current group of Congressional staff. A lot of what they are doing and information they are putting out there is just getting lost in the shuffle. People who have been working in the industry for a long time will be play online pokies amazed, and maybe even disturbed, by the difference in lobbyists’ perception of what staff thinks verses reality.” Remarked Joel Poznansky, President of Columbia Books Inc., parent company of Lobbyists.info & The Original U.S. Congress Handbook.

The report covers with detailed charts and analysis:

· The best ways to contact members of Congress and their staffs

· How changes in Hill demographics that have shifted perspective – and what common practices can now be a waste of resources

· What factors determine who gets access to Members or Hill staff

· How staffers prefer to learn about issues

· What lobbying tactics get results

· Which Congressional staffers are engaged in social media – and why

· How to walk the fine line between information and information overload

· Surprising findings about how staffers view bias in today’s information age and how they weigh it

· How staffers interact with each other and with media during their work day

· What types of media staffers prefer to hear, read and see

Lobbyists.info and the report’s sponsors are also holding a June 12th breakfast for the launch of the report. At the event an expert panel of lobbyists, researchers and Congressional staff, will break down the results and reveal groundbreaking news for an audience of industry insiders and lobbyists. Using the hard numbers in the report, strategies for how to best maximize lobbying time and money will be analyzed, discussed and dissected.

The Congressional Communications is currently available for pre-order at www.congressionalcommunicationsreport.com and will be published in June 2012. For more information on the expert panel breakfast in Washington DC on June 12, 2012 please visit www.congressionalcommunicationsreport.com/live