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Park Rag’s 9 Rules for Speaking During Government Meetings

We’ve had the opportunity to watch many interactions between citizens and the government bodies like the County Council, City Council, and Planning Commissions. While many people are friendly and cordial, it never ceases to amaze us what we’ll witness. We’re not perfect but here are the rules we follow:

  1. Smile and be friendly.
  2. Know what you want to say. Writing down bullet points to use is a great idea.
  3. Only speak for 3 minutes. The longer you talk, the less you say.
  4. Do your research. The more competent you sound, the more influence you have.
  5. Don’t repeat what others have said over and over. A simple “what she said” is usually enough to communicate that many people share the same view.
  6. Have logical arguments broken into pieces. Imagine that the Council or Commission are writing down your points one by one — make sure they can do that easily.
  7. If you are requesting some sort of appeal, and it’s your fault, you better be thinking out of the box on why you should get what you want.
  8. Don’t threaten people or be rude. That’s a guaranteed way to lose friends and not influence people.
  9. If you can’t attend, send an email. They do get read and are often cited during meetings.

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