Tips for speaking before the Planning Board
Consider these six tips tips to speak more effectively before the Planning Board.
- Send or bring 10 copies of your written testimony for the Planning Board. You may send your written testimony in advance via email (MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org), fax (301-495-1320) or mail/delivery to Chair’s Office, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. You may also bring copies of your testimony the day of the meeting. Please provide 10 copies to the Planning Board clerk for distribution to board members and staff.
- Be familiar with procedures and time limits. You will be called to the speaker’s table by the board chair. Push the button on the microphone in front of you (a red light will illuminate). Speak clearly and into the microphone. Once you begin speaking, the clerk will set the time clock to your allotted speaking time. You can see how much time is left on the small black box on the table. Once your time has elapsed, you will hear a beep, at which time you should conclude your remarks. Commissioners may ask questions after you speak.
NOTE: Your testimony will become part of the item’s public record, meaning that your name and address will be publicly available.
- Be prepared and know the issues. Be concise and well informed. The board appreciates people keeping to the time they are allotted. Make the most of that time! Keep your comments simple and to the point.
- Bring the evidence. A picture is worth a thousand words. The more photographs and visual aids supporting your testimony, the more persuasive your argument. Any photographs or visual aids will be kept by the Planning Board to become part of the official record. Consider using photocopies if you do not want to leave your originals.
- Speak for your group. Avoid repetition. Have one person testify on behalf of neighbors and community associations. A spokesperson can deliver a clear message and reference that he/she speaks for a group, which is more efficient than having 25 people say the same thing and allows the Planning Board more time to engage with speakers.
- Present statements in a positive manner. No matter how unpleasant the issue, always present your case in a positive light. Sarcasm and a negative demeanor can work against you. When mentioning things that bother you, remember to balance them with things that you do like. If you are taking an opposing view on an issue, offer solutions.
We appreciate your interest in park and planning issues in Montgomery County. If you have any questions, call the board’s Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations, 301-495-4600.
Date of last update: January 22, 2010