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2021 Session Prep: Resources for Legislative Staff

By Holly South | Dec. 7, 2020 | State Legislatures Magazine

As 2020 winds down, legislative staff all over the country are preparing for a session like no other. NCSL has compiled a best-of collection of recent webinars to help you maximize your productivity and communicate to the best of your ability—all while staying calm under pressure (naturally!) whether you’re working remotely or from behind a mask. And keep in mind that some of your best resources are other people. NCSL is here for you, both to provide information and professional development and to connect you with your peers in other states. Please call on us anytime—and be sure to join us for a festive night of trivia on Thursday, Dec. 10! (Details below.)

The ABCDE Method: A Tool for Maximizing Productivity

This webinar is designed to give you one more tool in your productivity toolbox. NCSL trainer Curt Stedron explains the ABCDE Method of time management and how to use it to increase both personal and officewide productivity. Then hear from Heather Koszka, capitol office director for California Senator Brian Jones (R), as she describes how she put the ABCDE Method to use in her office.

Crisis Communications: Best Practices for the Worst Times

While many look forward to moving past 2020, this year has revealed the value of preparing for a crisis. For those who must communicate during difficult times—whether internal or external—it helps to plan ahead. This webinar explores the elements of a solid crisis communications plan, including best practices for gathering and delivering accurate information during challenging situations.

Keys to an Effective Message—Story Principles, Focused Messaging and Communication Styles

It’s crunch time in the legislature and you’re finishing a big, complex project. Now you need to distill all that work into a summary to share with colleagues or constituents. Communications coach Marianna Swallow will guide you through the steps to shaping an effective message. She shares the keys to understanding different communication styles, identifying the main takeaway of your message and using story principles to engage your audience.

Managing, Leading and Growing During Uncertain Times

The coronavirus pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on leaders and employees around the globe, including in state legislatures. Strong leadership skills, agile management techniques and ongoing self-care are a few essentials legislative staff need to navigate these uncertain times. Slides are available here.

Keep Calm and Google On, or Hacking a Search Engine and Other Nifty Ways to Save Time

For sheer magnitude and breadth of information at its disposal, Google rivals any database. These qualities do not, however, always lend themselves to speedy and precise searching. Explore advanced Google operators through discussion and examples and learn to hack a Google URL to send customized advanced searches to others.

Let’s Zoom

Take a crash course in Zoom! Learn to navigate basic and advanced Zoom operations to better facilitate remote meetings, and get tips and tricks to enhance security, share your screen, use PowerPoint, run a Zoom poll, and set up breakout rooms for your participants. Leave with all the tools you need to make your next meeting a success. A handout is available here.

Building Democracy: The Story of America’s State Legislatures

Episodes 1-4 of this special podcast series are available now. The series covers the history, characters and stories of state legislatures in America, from their beginnings in Jamestown, Va., to the present day and into the future. Legislative and historical experts guide listeners through the historical events that helped shape—and in some cases almost derailed—the legislatures we know today.

Legislative Staff Trivia Night!

Thursday, Dec. 10 | 9 p.m. ET

Join your peers from across the country for an NCSL trivia night created especially for legislative staff. These trivia nights are a fun, low-stakes way to unwind, meet new people and compete for prizes. No trivia experience or expertise required! Everyone can contribute. You will be randomly assigned to a team that will work together to answer questions on topics ranging from history to sports to pop culture, with a possible stop at the legislature along the way. See you there!


Holly South is with NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services Program and serves as liaison to the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries.

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