Take Charge of Your Testimony

Message Tips for Your Legislative Testimony

Make it personal. Make it relevant

• Convey what is important to your patients and community
• Position message from the perspective of “my patient,” “my practice,” and “patient access to care”
• TALK to legislators and share stories; do not simply READ your testimony.

Keys to success: Know your message. Develop an outline. Use a story or practice example. Get to the point.

Common mistakes

• Not knowing main message; no focus
• Too complicated, too much information, too many facts
• Not practicing your testimony
• Not anticipating questions 
• Reading your testimony
• “Winging it”

Tips for Taking Control of the Testimony

Redirecting: Technique to help you deliver the message you want delivered – different from the premise that’s been stated

• “The real issue is…”
• “My experience is…”
• “What I see in my practice is…”
• “The patient suffers when…”
• “What’s important to my patients is…”

Bridging: Use legislator’s lead to make your point

• “That’s a good point and in fact I see [x] in my practice every day…(elaborate)”
• “That’s one perspective and in truth…”
• “Some people say that and the situation in my town is…”
• “Yes, and the reality in my practice [or for my patients] is …”

If you can’t answer the question exactly as the legislator asks, here are few ways to answer and get your message across:

• “I’m not certain of that, but here’s what I do know…”
• “This is what I see in my practice every day…”
• “This is what is important to my patients…”
• “The reality of today’s health care system is…”
• “That’s not my expertise…”

The lawmaker asks a "Yes" or "No" Question: A simple and effective response:

• "Sir, I wish this issue were that easy…”
• "Sir, this issue [or medicine in general] is simply not black and white…”
• “It’s not that simple; though there are trends and protocols, every patient is different…”

 For additional tips download TMA's Quick Guide for Physicians Testifying before the Texas Legislature.


Read the latest TMA Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies 

Last Updated On

February 25, 2019