Guide (how-to document)
University of Montana Rural Institute
The quality of life in any community is determined to some extent by the laws and policies of governmental units and agencies. One way of changing community conditions is to change the laws and policies. From a group’s perspective, any proposed change may be for the better or the worse. However, for changes in laws, regulations, or policies to occur, a public hearing is often required. During public hearings, people have an equal opportunity speak either for or against proposed changes. Many different types of testimony can be and usually are provided during public hearings. These may range from detailed, expert testimony using facts and figures to brief, personal testimony using personal experiences. Each type of testimony has great importance, because public officials often judge the importance of an issue by the number and type of comments they hear. The purpose of brief, personal testimony is to help those making the decision understand the issues in human or personal terms. As someone interested in giving personal testimony, your task is to tell a story about the changes being considered: to tell what they mean to you. This is not an easy task. It is never easy to talk about important things in limited time, and the issues may be very emotional ones. This testimony guide is designed to help you prepare your testimony and to teach you how to present it successfully.
© 1984, Tom Seekins and Stephen B. Fawcett
National Institute on the Handicapped; U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Serves Administration
Funded by a grant (#G008006928) from the National Institute on the Handicapped. Reproduced in 2000 with written permission from the RTC/IL under a grant (#H235K000002) from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration.
NIH: G008006928; USDE: H235K000002
Seekins, Tom Ph.D.; Fawcett, Stephen B.; and Rural Institute, University of Montana, "A Guide for Personal Testimony: The Art of Using Your Personal Experiences to Influence Policy Decisions" (2000). Independent Living and Community Participation. 16.