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Tips for Engaging with Local Leaders

A woman speaks during a meeting to discuss local issues

1. Get prepared with research

  • Know what you’re getting yourself into before you jump into action. Look up information about who has the power to act on the issues you care about, what opportunities you have to connect with them, and sign up for a time slot when necessary.
  • Reach out to people who’ve done this before. Ask them about their experience, including details like how long they had to speak and whether they were able to share resources after the discussion.

2. Speak effectively

  • Simplify! Once you know how you’ll be sharing your thoughts, tailor them to that conversation. Use data whenever possible and make sure to start and finish by calling out the specific action or actions leaders can take.
  • Be authentic: Whenever possible, draw on your own experience. Feel free to open up about issues you’re passionate about.
  • Be concise: Get to your point quickly to make the most of your time and keep your audience interested in what you’re saying.
  • Be polite: It can be easy to get emotionally invested in important issues. However, local leaders are people too and they’ll be more open to hearing what you have to say if you’re one of the people being respectful of their limited time.

3. Prepare additional resources

  • Leave additional resources with local leaders at the end of your remarks. This provides them a recap of what you talked about as well as more information about actions they can take.
  • PHA can help! Feel free to repurpose resources from our website like our Defining Food Equity paper, Food Equity map, or Food Equity Action Center to help give them more information about improving Food Equity in your community.

Go back to the Food Equity Action Center