Tips on Testifying at Hearings and Public Committee Meetings

One more powerful form of communication with your elected officials and your surrounding community is to share your testimony at a legislative hearing or public committee meeting. This can be the most effective way to get your voice heard by multiple decisions makers at once.

The thought of testifying in front of a number of elected officials may seem daunting, but it’s doable AND empowering!

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to testify publicly:

  • Practice, practice, practice. Run through your testimony ahead of time and get feedback.
  • Arrive early to sign up for a slot to speak. Time is limited at these hearings.
  • Prepare written copies of your full testimony to pass out to the committee members. They may not be able to get to you during the meeting.
  • Your time will be limited when you testify. Keep your speech to less than three minutes. Make sure to hit the key points on your issue.
  • Provide a clear and concise description of your position on the issue or bill.
  • Present your testimony effectively using a friendly, relaxed tone of voice. Sometimes bullet points can be more helpful than a full text script.
  • If you don’t understand a question you are being asked, simply restate your position and be honest.
  • Ask for committee’s support before you sit down.
  • As with the previous forms of communication, remember to be polite and respectful before, during, and after you testify.

*Note: Make sure to always check in with trusted seniors, families and caregivers before you contact elected officials — they are powerful allies and resources in making you advocacy count!

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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