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The 3 C’s of Testifying: Be Clear, Concise and Compelling Marie Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations NOVEMBER 21, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "The 3 C’s of Testifying: Be Clear, Concise and Compelling Marie Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations NOVEMBER 21, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 The 3 C’s of Testifying: Be Clear, Concise and Compelling Marie Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations NOVEMBER 21, 2013

2 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Legislature: Hearings A bill requires a public hearing before a Senate or House committee –Rules can be suspended Anyone can provide input by live testimony or in writing Hearings are informal – rules set by the body and the chair Televised and taped by TVW

3 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Legislature: Hearings (cont.) The issues that compel us to testify are diverse The same goes for the way individuals choose to testify However, it is critical that the information offered in your testimony is accurate, consistent, clear and relevant –Important to know whether policy or fiscal issues, committees

4 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The First ‘C’: Clear Clear means simple, easy to understand language Avoid jargon or acronyms, or internal organizational, operation or technical language NEVER read your testimony, particularly if you are going to hand out prepared remarks

5 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The First ‘C’: Clear (cont.) Clear includes an opening, a few key points, and a close Opening — Addresses the Committee Chair and members — State your name and school district. “I am here to speak (in favor or opposition) on (the bill number and subject).”

6 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The First ‘C’: Clear (cont.) Key Points The most important bits of information State your position Why you hold the position

7 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The First ‘C’: Clear (cont.) Ending Always has a clear statement of what you want Committee to do or know Always offer to answer questions BUT … be prepared to say you don’t know and follow up

8 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION When using a PowerPoint…

9 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Second ‘C’: Concise The best testimony is brief and to the point Testimony is frequently limited to 3 minutes or less Be ready to revise for less time – 30 seconds! With presentations, verify how much time you’ll have to speak — Cut that in half — Use Power Point slides to show data and illustrate a point if necessary

10 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Second ‘C’: Concise (cont.) If you need to get on the record, be brief and let them know you’ll be following up with written testimony The reason you follow up is to get something in the bill report that committee staff are writing

11 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Second ‘C’: Concise (cont.) Don’t repeat what someone else has said BUT … You can say you agree with previous testimony and add anything new if necessary

12 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Second ‘C’: Concise (cont.) If you’re asked a question, answer it quickly and clearly If you don’t know, say you don’t know but will get back to them Make sure to follow up It is usually best to send the information to staff. They will share with committee members

13 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Third ‘C’: Compelling The point is to make the testimony “real” to the legislators, staff and audience hearing you Localize and humanize issues — Be prepared to give an example from the chair’s district or, — From the district of a legislator who is opposed to your issue

14 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Third ‘C’: Compelling (cont.) Use stories of staff, teachers and students to illustrate your point or emphasize testimony Know your audience and recognize what others might be saying — Be prepared to diplomatically answer questions about testimony that might be in conflict with yours, or opinions that might be different

15 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION The Third ‘C’: Compelling (cont.) Be visual when appropriate Charts, graphs, maps, etc. are great – as long as they don’t need thousands of words of explanation The picture should tell the story, quickly and clearly A prop can help you make your case Use humor judiciously

16 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION Finally… When testifying against a bill or with concerns, always make time to check in with the bill sponsor BEFORE the hearing.

17 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION Preparing Testimony Project Testimony work sheet (8 minutes) –Read HB 1412 – Community Service –Jot down notes based on the questions in the worksheet –Pick a position and draft your supporting arguments or evidence Table discussion (10 minutes) –Discuss the bill, your responses, arguments –Pick 2 volunteers to offer testimony to our panel Plan for no more than 2 minutes of testimony Write testimony (10 minutes) –Working together, draft the testimony –Remember 3 Cs – Clear, Concise, Compelling

18 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION WSSDA Advocacy Contacts Marie Sullivan, Governmental Relations Director – cell; desk Nan Laughton, Administrative Assistant – desk

19 INVEST IN OUR FUTURE THROUGH PUBLIC EDUCATION Save the Date! January 26-27, 2014 Legislative Conference Day on the Hill Registration Open Now! Sponsored by: WSSDA/WASA/WASBO

20 We’d love to have your feedback. Please fill out an evaluation form before you leave. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING.


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