The NCSL Blog


By Katie Ziegler

Legislatures will have full plates of policy work to address in the next session. We know many hours of research, deliberation and negotiation are behind the final product of a bill, study or initiative, and we hope legislative staff know they can call upon NCSL’s assistance and research services along the way.

When you’ve reached that finish line, or even before, you need to translate all the work that has been done into a simple, and often painfully short, message to share with others.

How do you distill a 75-page study or report into a paragraph for a constituent newsletter? What about for a committee hearing—do you use the same message, or do you need to start over? How do you prepare talking points for your boss to explain a controversial decision to a group of stakeholders?

NCSL is pleased to have communications experts Marianna Swallow and Randy Ford join us today to share the "Keys to an Effective Message" in a free webinar. Tune in (at 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT) for strategies to identify and highlight the key takeaway in each message you develop, reminders about adapting your message for different audiences, and a discussion of the importance of storytelling.

While you wait for the webinar to start, take a look at some of the projects and advice from our speakers. Swallow reminds us about the Three Ts of adult learning and the three rules of effective presentations.

Ford’s work as a storyteller has resulted in collaborations with America’s Defense Communities and Job Corps. Or, revisit the previous NCSL webinar titled "Writing Memorable Analyses" to learn how to incorporate tried-and-true advertising techniques in your work.

Good luck and happy messaging!

Katie Ziegler is a program director in NCSL’s State Services division.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.