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Appendix H



Before the Presentation

Know your publics
Anticipate interests, concerns and questions
Consider the latter in preparation

Prepare your presentation
Develop a strong introduction
Develop a maximum of three key messages
Assemble your supporting data
Prepare audiovisual aids

Prepare for answering questions
Anticipate what questions will arise
Prepare answers to those questions
Practice questioning and responding

The Opening Statement

A strong opening statement sets the tone for the press conference or news briefing and is crucial in attempting to establish trust and build credibility. The elements of a strong opening are:

A statement of personal concern
A statement of organizational commitment and intent
A statement of purpose and plan for the meeting

Key messages and supporting data
A maximum of three "take-home points"
Information to support the key messages

A summarizing statement

Total time for all presenters should be 15 minutes or less. Do not have too many presenters. Three is usually sufficient.


Remember that perceived empathy is a vital factor in establishing trust and building credibility and your publics assess it in the first 30 seconds.

Examples are:

Statement of personal concern: "As a resident of this community I'm interested in the safety and well-being of our families and neighborhoods."

Statement of organizational commitment and intent: " I'm here to share with you the knowledge and confidence I have in the military's ability to assist the citizens of our community. They have been trained in their occupational skill to assist with the task at hand."

Statement of purpose and plan for the presentation: Today I would like to share with you the most current information regarding the (incident.) I will also be available to answer additional questions or to continue the discussion.

Key messages and supporting data

The key messages are points you want your publics to have in their minds after the presentation. They should:

Address central issues.
Be short and concise.
Examples are:
"We have trained personnel and emergency response plans in place to aid in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. We are working with local and state officials to handle the incident."

"We are actively responding to the emergency...."

To develop your key messages:

Think freely and jot down all pieces of information you wish to communicate.

Select key messages
Identify the most important ideas. Repeat the process until you list is down to three items.

Identify supporting data
Other information you listed probably provides support to your key messages. Organize it to reflect this.


Restate verbatim your key messages.

Add a future action statement --- What is your organization going to do about this problem in the short and long term?

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias