Here Come the Lawmakers

It’s the dawn of a new year, and a young man’s fancy turns to…legislative testimony?!

Granted, such testimony may not be the stuff of lovesick odes. But January signals a need to begin thinking about how your organization will deal with invitations to appear before Congressional committees, state legislative panels, and various regulatory bodies.

Congress will begin to reawaken from its holiday recess later this month. In addition, lawmakers in several states will reconvene. And let us not forget the constant parade of regulatory hearings on both the federal and state levels.

Some of these hearings will no doubt involve matters that stand to have a dramatic impact on your issue or industry. Others may center on a proposal specific to your organization.

The watchword at the dawn of 2014 is “be prepared” for your next round of testimony. Don’t delay. To increase your odds of success, you had best get moving on this checklist before month’s end:CSOSA Director Ware is welcomed to Congressional hearing.

  • Decide who will testify on your behalf. The messenger counts. The best choice may or may not be your CEO or president. Be sure to select someone who has the talent and the discipline to deliver your message forcefully.
  • Frame your key messages. Know what you want to say. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of work to get this right. If you haven’t placed a premium on message development previously, now is a good time to start.
  • Plan your witness preparation. Make a list of the resources, human and otherwise, that you will need to marshal when it comes time to prepare your organization’s testimony. By all means, hold a testimony training workshop either using internal staff or working with a consultant who specializes in this field.
  • Plan how you can best leverage your testimony. Your oral statement should extend beyond the four walls of the hearing room. Testifying presents a great opportunity to broadcast your messages through the media and in other public forums.

Finally, commit to the goal of creating maximum impact during the short five minutes you will have to make your case. You can toss your dedication to producing a convincing volume of written evidence out the window if you blow it during your oral presentation.

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