I do much better with the written word. Over the last seven months, One personal issue I have had to face is my fear of public speaking. I definitely didn't overcome this fear, but I am a little more comfortable after a couple times speaking in front of Detroit City Council and Oakland County Board of Commissioners. Partially this is because I am familiar with the format and who I am speaking in front of. I also realized quickly that City Council and other legislative and executive government officials are used to citizens being nervous. I also realized that, as an animal welfare advocate, even animal lovers are not going to fight for your cause unless you can find a way your cause fits a larger purpose.
Here are my tips:
- Use notes to keep yourself on topic if needed.
- Be clear about your goals
- Keep the issues current, within the immediate scope of your goal.
- Keep the focus on citizens, neighbors, businesses, and property owners that have a stake in the outcome of your position.
- With each of your points ask yourself, from both the opposing side and the legislator's perspective, "What is it in for me?" Make sure you answer that questions.
- Remember, a legislator's primary areas of interest are always financial, public safety, and needs of the constituents. All your arguments should be centered around these concerns.
- Get caught up in all the historical issues or a long list of minutiae or personal issues with leadership of your opposition.
- Avoid repetitive testimony. Help others who will be speaking on the same goal to make complementary but distinct points.
- Focus just on your wants. Show how a larger population will benefit from your plan through greater fiscal responsibility, increased safety, and meet the needs of the constituents.