Five Minute Approach Spells Success for Congressional Testimony

For immediate release                                  Contact:    Ed Barks
Thursday, June 7, 2012                                                   (540) 955-0600


The most important meeting any organization is ever likely to face occurs when its executives are summoned to appear as witnesses before a Congressional committee.

Those witnesses now have a ready reference guide to witness table dos and don’ts. It is titled “Testifying on Capitol Hill: The Five Minute Approach to Success,” a new—and free—position paper authored by Barks Communications President Ed Barks.

“Testifying before members of Congress can cause anxiety in even the most hard-nosed executives,” Barks said. “The Five Minute Approach helps to ensure that they make the most of their time in the witness chair.”

As Barks writes in the paper, “The Five Minute Approach dictates that your oral statement contains a magnetic message—one that your target audience finds irresistible—and that you capitalize on your delivery style to assert control over the proceedings.”

Barks advises organizing a mock hearing workshop as a key part of preparation efforts. “Select your witnesses, frame your message, and conduct some basic background research on the lawmakers you expect to confront,” he continued.

“Hone your five minute oral statement to a fine point and make absolutely certain that it is written for the ear,” Barks added. “This means that your communications team should take charge of crafting the oral remarks while your issue experts and lawyers hammer out the formal written testimony.”

“Time it out to the final second so as not to waste any precious time while also taking care not to overstay your welcome. The last thing you want is an antsy chairman gaveling you into silence before you reach your conclusion,” he cautioned.

Barks’ new publication also offers advice on dealing with the parry and thrust of Q&A with members of Congress. Importantly, it also highlights the value of leveraging testimony beyond the four walls of the hearing room, emphasizing the need to forge relationships over time with members of Congress and their staffs.

“Testifying on Capitol Hill: The Five Minute Approach to Success” is available as a free download on the Barks Communications Research page.

Ed Barks leads Congressional testimony training workshops for executives who want to enhance their reputations, and for organizations that want to achieve their long-term business goals. The former radio broadcaster is the author of The Truth About Public Speaking: The Three Keys to Great Presentations. As President of Barks Communications since 1997, he has taught 4000 business leaders, association executives, government officials, athletes, entertainers, non-profit executives, and public relations staff how to succeed when they deal with the media, deliver presentations, and testify before government officials.