McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

Today we’ll take a look at providing effective committee testimony to the California Legislature. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind.

  • Expect your testimony to be relatively short – two to three minutes at most.
  • Utilize facts and speak from your own personal experience. If need be, you can submit more formal testimony to the committee and its members.
  • When preparing your testimony remember to:
    • First – identify yourself
    • Second – state the organization you represent
    • Third – state whether you support or oppose the legislation
    • Fourth – identify the bill by name and number if it is not done already at the hearing
    • Fifth – Summarize your key points and then add any necessary explanation
    • Last – restate your position – support or oppose – at the end
  • Review, but do not over-rehearse your testimony. It should not sound like you’ve memorized what you have to say.
  • Always arrive early. Be prompt for the hearing you are testifying at.
  • If you are bringing hard copies of materials, make sure you have enough for the entire committee.
  • Speak directly into the microphone and adjust it if necessary.
  • Try not to repeat the points that have been made by previous speakers. If your points have already been made, tell the committee you agree with the prior testimony and urge the committee members to either support or oppose the legislation.
  • Answer questions that you can with clear and succinct answers. If you don’t have an answer to the question they have, offer to get back to them with an answer.
  • Don’t argue with members of the committee.
  • Don’t argue with those giving testimony in opposition to yours.
  • Keep copies of any information that you provide so that you are aware of what has been made available.

You can find the full transcript of today’s podcast here.