Guide to Speaking at a Public Hearing

Speaking at a Public Hearing

Giving a public testimonial or speaking at a public hearing is one of the most powerful ways to affect change in your local government.  Emails can be deleted, letters can be read and thrown away, but at a public hearing you are given a designated period of time, typically 2-3 minutes, to share your story directly, face-to-face, with those whose vote will determine the outcome of your issues.  Those uninterrupted minutes are invaluable to share your story and advocate for your desired results.

Keys to a successful public comment:

1.   Advanced Sign-Up

Signing up late for public comment will ensure speaking late.  Two weeks before each public hearing, early sign-up opens.  For the April 24th and April 27th Loudoun 2040 Public Hearings, sign-up opens even earlier, April 5th at 8:30am.  Sign-up by calling 703-777-0200.

2.  Strength in Numbers

It’s always more impactful (and fun!) to speak as part of a group.   So, to speak as a group, you must sign-up as a group.  Coordinate with your group to call the sign up line around the same time so that you can speak as a group and tell your story together.  As part of your group, you will receive a calendar invite to remind you to make your call.

3.   Who are you? Why does it matter?

When crafting your comments, start with your name and the district that you live and/or work in.  This will ensure that you receive the added attention on the Supervisor of your district and deepens the personal impact of your story because it affects someone in their district.

4.    Make it your story

Facts and figures don’t hold a candle to your story.  The numbers and facts will never garner the emotional support you will receive when you share your personal story Please consider using this template, if you’d like to use your story as part of your testimonial. We highly encourage it!

5.    Clear/Actionable Solution.

End with a clear and measurable response you are requesting.  CLEAR means that it’s simple enough that your audience will understand it. What is your SOLUTION to the problem? The more your group repeats this solution, the greater opportunity for it to be remembered. A measurable solution will help take away any ambiguity to your request and ensure you clearly state what is required to solve the problem.