Hearings allow the public to officially participate in government
decisions. They are held to gather facts and hear arguments through testimony
and allow legislators to make decisions in the public interest. Offering oral
testimony is the most powerful way to present testimony.
There are four stages to delivering effective oral
testimony. Those stages are:
Prepare. The first stage and one of the most
important is preparation. This includes knowing the issue and explaining how
the issue impacts you. This also includes knowing your audience, and how the
issue impacts them. This also includes knowing the environment for which you
will be presenting. The more you prepare the more confidence you gain.
Adapt. An effective advocate will be able to
adapt his or her testimony to what has been or will be said. Other witnesses
will make your key points so you will need to deliver your key points with a
fresh angle. This is why it is important to arrive early and review materials
and meet with other advocates.
Deliver. Your preparation has brought you to
this point. Now it is time to deliver your presentation.
Report. The hard work is done. Now take the time
to reflect on the hearing and report on your efforts.