Witness Preparation Reminders

Observing committee hearings on Capitol Hill always brings to mind some of the basics that any organization should heed before climbing those golden stairs to testify:

  1. Decide who will testify on your behalf. The best choice may or may not be your president or CEO.
  2. Research the lawmakers’ or regulators’ records to be sure you know where they stand on your issues.
  3. Begin with an attention-getting opening; don’t waste time on perfunctory introductions and dry language exhumed from your written testimony.
  4. Keep things on a professional plane; refuse to be lured into an emotional confrontation.
  5. Engage in a brutally honest post-testimony assessment; ask yourself if your message worked and if your presentation skills were up to par.

To be sure, this is an abbreviated list. Still, it should prove a good starting point when your organization needs to plead its case before Congress or regulatory panels.

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