Be Aware
Non-verbal messages can overpower your verbal message. Watch for the following:

Red Bullet Facial expressions
Red Bullet Eye contact
Red Bullet Posture
Red Bullet Gestures
Red Bullet Movement
Red Bullet Tone of voice
Red Bullet Physical appearance
Red Bullet Clothing

Informal presentations and impromptu speaking
   Throughout the day,many of us participate in planned and unplanned meetings. Take advantage of every opportunity to advocate for children. Here are some tips for getting through these "power briefings" with busy lawmakers or other officials.
  • Know in advance the "core" of your message so you can take advantage of unexpected opportunities.
  • Assume you'll have less than five minutes to make your case and answer any questions.
  • Start your conversation by identifying yourself and your organization. Mention any connections you may have, such as having worked on a campaign or knowing the top aide (this shows you have done your homework on the lawmaker.) Have a business card and any written information ready to hand out.
  • Show courtesy and respect for their time by asking if you can walk with them to their next meeting.
  • Immediately state the core of your message and support it with two or three salient facts. Explain how your message affects them and make any request you have, i.e., "Please vote in favor of proposed community initiative (fill-in-the-blank)."
  • Be prepared to answer questions and be aware of any late-breaking news or current events that may have a bearing on your issue.
  • Leave a handout that recaps your message.
  • Practice doing these "power briefings" with a clock. Politicians genuinely appreciate people who behave professionally, understand the legislative process and do not waste their time.


Learn to Speak Out

Red Bullet Prepare yourself
Red Bullet Practice your speech but try not to sound too rehearsed.
Red Bullet Personalize your story wherever possible.
Red Bullet Show that you care about what you are saying.
Red Bullet Establish your credibility - briefly refer to your credentials or a personal anecdote.
Red Bullet Speak clearly and not too quickly.
Red Bullet Stick to your message. Try to avoid going off on tangents.
Red Bullet Always thank your host.
Red Bullet Make sure visuals are large enough to be seen by everyone.
Red Bullet Keep in mind the six-by-six rule: No more than six words per line and no more than six lines per page.
Red Bullet Try to avoid computer projectors that require lights to be turned low - especially after a meal.
Red Bullet If you are going to use pictures of children in your presentation make sure you have appropriate releases on file.

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