Preparing for Testifying


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  • The objectives:To help you prepare your local supporters to testify before the committee on joint finance To give tips and ideas for what you are looking for in a testify-erHow to ensure you are bringing a strong delegation for the hearing
  • Taking a closer look:Make sure everyone is covering a different topic. People should try to cover the big three issues:Program fundingThe newly introduced cigarette tax of .75SFA legislation Make sure you review the testimony that people want to give- make sure it is on message:e.g. if they don’t support a 100% SFW they should not be talking on our behalf, if they don’t understand why the cigarette tax has public benefit or they think that they are sticking it to Big Tobacco- these are not the reason for an increase, they should have an understanding of the program and why it needs funding- highlighting those successes should be the focus of the testimony. Screen out people who have provided practice testimony that is not going to strengthen your delegation in some way. You also want to bring a diverse delegation who represent diverse interests in tobacco control efforts. Consider gender and age and profession. Locals sharing
  • Review of the objectives:To help you prepare your local supporters to testify before the committee on joint finance To give tips and ideas for what you are looking for in a testify-erHow to ensure you are bringing a strong delegation for the hearingQuestions
  • You’re afraid, you’re afraid… She’s afraid- she has a brilliant idea that she can’t communicate because of her fear of public speaking. Public speaking is scary. Testifying, hearings, finance. These words strike fear into you. People rank their fear of public speaking above death, financial security, and even BUGS! Consistently at the top of every one’s list is the profound fear of giving public speeches. So how- do you as coalition coordinator help your JFC testifiers conquer their fear of public speaking?
  • How do you get people prepared from your local coalition to get to a hearing in Madison or other part of the region? Outside of availability, logistical, and other factors- how to get this person to speak, and how do you get them to be effective. First, for every person you are thinking about bringing with you to the hearing, you need to dedicate time to that person. Many people have stories, but don’t know how to tell them. The only way to get that story out of them is to talk about their experiences, why do they come to the coalition- why do they care- that is the very basic story. (Julie is going to be talking more about this). Help them write up something and be an open ear for them to practice. Let them present the material as much as possible. Second, provide them with information about what the testimony is about. This is where you give them information about who they are talking to, what they should talk about. Finally, have them write out their speech and practice giving it to the coalition, friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen. The more they practice what they are going to say the stronger they are going to be.
  • The very veryvery basic public speaking skills are not things like gestures or eye contact- those are advanced skills. Know your audience, know your self, know your material How do you help you testifiers to know these things?Some of that is through knowing their story. By knowing their story- they know both themselves and their material. Numbers and stats are jarring, numbing; a well crafted story is memorable. You can provide great information about the audience, who will they be speaking before, how do you best reach this audienceKnowing the material- helps them to know what their message is. What are they trying to say? How do you stand out among the hundreds of people who will testify before JFC?
  • I mentioned early that the people who you want to testify need to be able to practice and they do. People should read through what they want to say at least one time. Ideally they would say it three times or more. The more they practice the less nervous they will be when it comes time to give the presentation at the hearing. Again, they should practice in front of a supportive audience like the coalition. They should write out what they want to say and it is helpful for them to visualize themselves being wildly successful in giving their presentation.
  • Outside of logistical constraints who is the best person to speak on behalf?
  • How do you know who to pick?First ask yourself a few questions:How many people can we bring to provide testimony? What topics make sense for us to try and cover? Who do you think are the strongest, best speakers in our coalitions?Who is this audience most likely to listen to?Is there a community member/leader who has not been particularly active in the coalition but is a strong supporter of tobacco control?Asking these questions should avoid a duck, duck, goose situation, where any random coalition member is asked to testify when they may not be the best fit. You want the golden goose, not just any goose. Who you bring should be deliberate and intentional. Locals sharings
  • So, how do you be deliberate and intentional with your delegation?
  • Preparing for Testifying

    1. 1. JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE HEARINGS Train the trainer
    3. 3. KNOW KNOW KNOW
    4. 4. PRACTICE
    7. 7. 401 Wisconsin Ave. Madison, WI 608.268.2623 QUESTIONS?