Advisors were urged to keep it simple when contacting Congress by a lobbying expert at a Financial Services Institute Financial Advisor Summit seminar.

Brad Fitch, Congressional Management Foundation president and CEO, told advisors on Tuesday that when they contact a congressman they will often be in contact with a legislative aide in their 20s who has 11 to 16 issue areas to focus on for their boss.

Because of the aides’ low level of experience and high work load, he told advisors to “dumb it down. Make it easy to understand.”

As an example, Fitch said an advisor could mention to a congressional aid the thousands of dollars it will cost him to comply with a proposed regulation. That message will ring more clearly with a legislative assistant making $43,000 per year than talking about the millions of dollars it will cost the industry overall, he said.

The simplicity message also applies to e-mails and direct contact with members of Congress, Fitch said.

Individual advisors can give personal stories about themselves, their families and their clients that members of Congress won’t get from professional lobbyists who concentrate their communications on the big picture, he said.

Another way to make a personal connection with a congressman, Fitch advised, is to find out what the legislator was doing before he or she was elected to Congress.

He also advised advisors to communicate with legislators frequently.

“That means four to five times a year. Not every week,” he said.