Sometimes the Front Door is Locked

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Business

If you are working the circus’ rings, you should be scheduling Congressional appointments to discuss changes you’d like to see in FY22. You should be scheduling agency appointments at the agency level to shape FY23 because you know FY23 planning has been well underway.

It’s possible you are attempting to coordinate an FY21 issue at the agency level if you are dealing with the execution of FY21, or you are hoping to see a change in the implementation of FY21 (a reprogramming).

But what happens if the appointments you are trying to schedule in Congress or the agency aren’t coming about? Sometimes, you come up against a person or an office that perceives they have more power than they do; or at least more power than you.

Sometimes, you come up against a person or an office that perceives they have more power than they do; or at least more powerful than you. Click To Tweet

This scenario is unusual, but it can happen. You’ve sent the carefully worded polite request. You’ve waited patiently for at least an acknowledgment of the request, and all you hear are crickets.

Let’s assume your original unanswered meeting requests contained the correct basics: who you are, what your topic is, why you think the appointment matters to the audience, when you would like to meet or are available to meet, and how you propose meeting (call, zoom, industry event, etc.).

You’re likely too timid with this new federal contact. Don’t be. You are giving that person power that is not rightly theirs. They are public servants who should be available to serve you, not exercise petty power over you.

Here’s the sure-fire method to get the meeting:

  1. Ask your target once nicely via email.
  2. Follow up on the email with your target after 36 hours.
  3. Call the target’s office phone number. They will not answer but leave a voicemail.
  4. The next day, email their boss and copy your target.  Explain to their boss that you tried to go to the target, but you conclude they must be on travel or leave after three attempts.

You think steps 1-4 will sully the relationship, and you’ll never connect. Not true. You allow the person to do their job by serving you. Sometimes you have to bang hard on the door like this. Usually, you don’t, but don’t be afraid to bang on the door when knocking doesn’t work.

You will likely get the meeting using steps 1-4. It may feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t. It’s business. Get the meeting or let your competition blow past you.  


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