First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Playing the COMPLETE Advocacy game: pay attention when the Congressman is speaking at your reception.

Need to add a topic to next year's EMS On The Hill Day pre-briefing

Wednesday was a long day for the participants at EMS On The Hill Day.

Dozens of people, including paid specialists in "lobby days" and political advocacy, spent hundreds of hours to get the maximum benefit of the advocates time. The golden ticket was face-to-face time with a Member of the Congress or Senate

Part of the Wednesday night reception included two brief presentations by Congressmen who are supportive of EMS.

Networking trumps decorum

Standing within five feet of Congressman Peter Roskam, it was hard to hear his amplified voice over the discussions going on in the back of the moderate-sized reception room.

Could barely hear the shout-out to his friends at Superior Ambulance. In fact, it was so loud in the room that many of us never heard the congressman introduced.

After most of the crowd quieted down, the speaker was still competing with two gentlemen that carried on an animated conversation throughout the five minute speech. The boys in the back were exchanging business cards as the congressman was wrapping up.

Just like fire guys

The EMS On The Hill reception shares the same behavioral issues observed at the Congressional Fire Service Institute dinner: chatter caused by attention deficit disorders, the fatigue of a long day on the Hill, maybe an extra adult beverage. The loud background chatter makes it difficult to pay attention to the honored guest who is speaking.

This same behavior bothered me after the 2008 Congressional Fire Services Institute Dinner:  Politically Appropriate Behavior

If the CFSI dinner was just for firefighters, the crowd chatter issue would be trivial. CFSI dinner guests are members of the congress, senate and federal government that we are trying to influence.

… I am sure some will not see my point about overwhelming crowd chatter diminishing the importance of the CFSI invited guests. But I think that the guests notice the noise.

When NAEMT was presenting the Legislator of the Year award to Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD, the presenters were just a little louder than the background chatter.

Behavior predicts action

As part of the debriefing, political advocacy experts pointed out that those staffers and elected officials that were polite, paid attention and were engaged in the brief meetings on the Hill were most likely to move forward with the requests, instead of round-filing them as soon as you leave.

Not sure the two Congressmen could claim that they enjoyed a completely polite and engaged group at the reception.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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