Quick Tips for Effective Testimony
- Testimony should be short and concise. It should be a maximum of 2 minutes. It is critically important that you abide by the committee’s time allotment for presenting testimony.
- Before you start writing your testimony, figure out what key point(s) you want to make (no more than 3).
- Start your testimony by saying who you are, the agency you represent (if OFFICIALLY testifying on behalf of that organization), and where you are from. Mention your entire service area, if representing an agency or program.
- Say why you are there – the bill number, what the bill is about, and whether you are concerned about it, support it, or oppose it.
- Tell the committee why you are taking that position. This is where you talk about your key points. Include real-life stories, where appropriate (protecting confidentiality, of course!), statistics from your service area, and how this legislation would impact victims, survivors and/or the services you are able to provide.
- State what you want them to do (Please support or oppose Bill #XX).
- Thank them for their time.
A Few Etiquette Tips
Practicing good etiquette in committee hearings and teleconference centers is important. The following are a few tips you should follow:
- Make sure your cell phone if turned OFF before entering a committee room or teleconference center! Cell phones interfere with recording equipment, especially in teleconference centers.
- If you must keep your phone on, you must keep it on the vibrate setting. Ringing phones are not only disruptive to others, but offenders meet strong criticism from committee members.
- The same rules apply to talking on your phone. If you MUST make a call or answer your phone while in a committee hearing, step outside of the room into the hallway, far away from where your conversation can disrupt the proceedings.
- If you are asked a question by a committee member that is NOT the chair of the committee, the proper way to respond is “through the chair.” For example, if Senator Smith, who is not the committee chairman, asks you a question, you would preface your response with “through the chair, Senator Smith” and then respond to the question.