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.