Tips for Effective Public Testimony

Here are our quick tips for effective public testimony:

  • Introduce yourself – This sounds obvious but it is easy to forget. Start with your name! If you are testifying on behalf of a group or organization, share the name of that group and what kind of work you do. If you are testifying as an individual, share where you live.
  • Lead with your key message – Make a clear statement of what your position on the issue being addressed by the commission might be.
  • Make it personal – Back up your message with a unique personal story or anecdote about your own experience.
  • Stick to the facts – Back up your information with citations to reliable sources. Speculation or opinions unrelated to your key message are discouraged.
  • Keep it short – Prepare to talk for 5 minutes or less! Short and sweet is the most memorable and effective way to share your perspective.
  • Say thank you – Good manners are always appreciated. Close your testimony by thanking the group you are speaking to for their attention.

Find more background on this topic in our guide to organizing and advocacy.

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