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The Voice | Summer 2022

August 1, 2022

Chair's Corner

Chair's Letter 

The Staff Hub ATL 2022 in October is approaching quickly, and more than 200 legislative staff across the nation have already secured their spots for this epic three-day event in the heart of downtown Atlanta. From thought-provoking sessions to unique networking opportunities, you do not want to miss this chance to learn how to navigate the continually evolving legislative landscape.

LINCS members will close out this incredible conference with its annual business meeting, where our members will vote for the next LINCS Executive Committee. All LINCS members are eligible to apply for our dynamic leadership team. If you’re interested in taking on a leadership role with LINCS, you can learn more in this newsletter below. At the end of the business meeting, you will also have an exclusive opportunity to attend a special keynote address from a top political communications director with first-hand experience combatting elections misinformation.

LINCS is the only legislative staff professional association dedicated to serving legislative communicators from all 50 states and the territories. As such, we need your thoughts and feedback about the services and opportunities LINCS provides. I hope you to hear from you soon about how to make LINCS an even better organization for you and your colleagues.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve as your chair of the LINCS Executive Committee. It was great meeting so many of you during the NCSL Legislative Summit in Denver this summer, and I look forward to seeing many of you in Atlanta very soon!

Will Tracy, Communications Specialist/Videographer, Arkansas House of Representatives
LINCS Chair, 2021-2022.

Don't Miss 2022 StaffHub ATL 

Sneek Peek: Three 2022 Staff Hub ATL Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss

The 2022 Staff Hub agenda is packed full of content designed specifically for legislative communications staff.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the sessions your LINCS executive committee is planning at the upcoming Staff Hub:

  1. Exclusive Keynote for LINCS Members and Legislative Communications Staff Only—Award winning journalist Walter Jones will share his experience in advising the Georgia Secretary of State’s office on effective communication strategies in advance of the 2020 election and after the election.
  2. Reporters’ Roundtable—Back by popular demand, top political journalists will delve into their experiences working in Georgia’s highly competitive and shifting political landscape. Get the inside scoop on capturing the media’s attention and ensuring your perspective is not left out of the narrative.
  3. Get the Message Out: Communicating Complex Information—Buckle up for a lively panel discussion with researchers, communications experts and leadership staff on how to take complex policy information and distill it to make succinct and clear.

Still need help convincing your boss to sign off on your trip? Here are the meeting details, including the full agenda, that your supervisor will want to say “yes” to.

Congrats, LINCS Award Recipients

Every year, LINCS honors and recognizes LINCS members and legislative communications staff who demonstrate excellence in supporting their legislature and contributing to LINCS and the field of legislative communications and outreach through the Legislative Staff Achievement Award.

Will Tracy, communications specialist/videographer in the Arkansas House and the Press and Communications Office, Senate of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are the recipients of the 2022 LINCS Legislative Staff Achievement Award. You can learn more about Will Tracy and the Press and Communications Office, Senate of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico here.

Also, LINCS and NALIT (the National Association of Legislative Information Technology) sponsor the Online Democracy Award. This annual award is given to a legislature, legislative chamber or caucus whose website helps make democracy user-friendly. I’m excited to share that the Washington Legislature is the recipient of the 2022 Online Democracy Award. You can learn more about why the Washington Legislature received the award here.

These three award recipients join an esteemed group of legislative staff across the country that received awards from NCSL and their professional staff associations. All award recipients were honored at the Salute to Legislative Staff event at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Denver.

NCSL's "Making the Most of Facebook" Professional Development Series 

Earlier this year, the NCSL Public Affairs Team launched a Facebook training series for legislators and legislative staff. This series culminated during the 2022 Legislative Summit with a deep dive into using Facebook Pages to connect and engage with their community, constituents and followers. Expert panelists from Meta met in a packed room with legislators and communications staff and provided insight into Facebook’s latest tools, products and resources. Meta also hosted “Getting Real With Instagram Reels” to share their tips and tricks for Instagram’s fastest growing surface.

If you were unable to participate in these sessions, do not fret! There’s one more session coming your way in 2022. On Dec. 1, NCSL will host a virtual session, “Using Instagram For Maximum Connection,” with Facebook’s politics & government outreach manager.

You can learn more about this series and register for the final session here.

Facebook Bonus

Facebook, in partnership with NCSL, recently created the “Facebook Guide for State Legislators” and features the latest tools and best practices to help legislators and their staff maximize their social media presence and become Facebook experts. You can access the guide here.

2022 Legislative Summit in Review 

NCSL’s 2022 Legislative Summit, the largest annual bipartisan gathering for legislators and legislative staff, took place Aug. 1-3, in Denver. LINCS hosted a networking and roundtable session for all legislative communicators in attendance and we are grateful to the three communications directors from the Colorado General Assembly that shared insight and information about how communications are handled by the four Colorado caucuses.

Other highlights from the meeting, include:

  • The Social (Legislative) Dilemma
  • Great Stories Include Origin, Motivation, Vision…and Maybe a Few Cartoons
  • Salute to Legislative Staff with Olympian Missy Franklin
  • Legislative Staff Breakfast: The Certainty Trap: How Our Perceptions Don’t Always Match Reality

Read more about the 2022 program at State Legislatures News online.

Watch recordings of the 10 live-streamed sessions, including “Lessons in Trust: The Christmas Truce of 1914” and “Tips and Tricks for Crafting a Great Story.”

Calling All Leaders—and Those Who Want To Get Involved With LINCS

LINCS will select up to six new executive committee positions to serve starting fall 2022, including vice chair, secretary and up to four directors. Serving on the executive committee allows both seasoned and aspiring leaders to connect in a more meaningful way with LINCS, NCSL and other leadership staff.

Learn more about joining the executive committee here and get to know the four members of the 2021-2022 LINC Executive Committee, why the serve on the LINCS governing board and the value they find in participating in LINCS here.

Speech Writing 101: Refreshers to Help Captivate and Inspire Your Listeners 

By Camille Taylor, Georgia House Media Services Office

From captivating a digital audience to rallying constituents at a local town hall, state legislators will always need impactful speeches and talking points to help inform, inspire and even persuade their audiences about their legislative work. Here are a few reminders to keep in mind the next time you’re preparing a legislator for a speaking engagement.

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Spoiler alert! Speeches are not about the speaker—it is all about the audience. This may seem like a basic reminder but failing to research your audience is a surefire way for your message to fall flat. As you begin the drafting process, you should always research your audience and learn what is both historically and currently important to them. Become familiar with their level of knowledge on the message you’re delivering, and always be mindful of their time and attention. If you plan to use the same talking-points at multiple engagements, take some extra time to include content that is specific to each audience to avoid sounding generic and impersonal.

2. Establish Credibility for Your Core Message

In a society that is overrun with misinformation, people crave heartfelt, authentic moments. Crafting a credible speech with a strong core message is the “secret sauce” to avoiding political noise and creating a real impact and trust with an audience. Strong speeches establish credibility by using facts, personal connections to the topic being discussed and by using the speaker’s history or involvement with the intended message, such as his or her legislative track record. You can also establish credibility by delivering the speech with a conversational tone and cadences that are natural and personal to the speaker—nobody trusts a robot!

3. Bolster Your Message Through Storytelling

While credibility is key, focusing too much on facts and logic can prevent listeners from personally engaging with the message. Storytelling is an effective way to balance and bolster your core message, and stories that resonate with the audience will quickly create buy-in for their attention. A story does not have to be complex to make a big impact. It could be an opening story to catch their attention or simple anecdotal experiences that tie back to your core message. As long as it provides some context to support your message, it will definitely improve your next speech.

At the end of the day, speech writing does not have to be complicated—mindfulness, credibility and a good story can elevate even the most basic talking points into authentic moments between a speaker and their audience. Not every speech needs to be the Gettysburg Address but remembering these basic speech writing tips could help your legislators effectively build greater connections with their audiences at home and at their State Capitol. 

New Research: Statehouse Reporters Increased, but Not Covering the Capitol Full Time

In Spring 2022, the Pew Research Center released a study about the number of reporters assigned to covering state capitols. Pew’s study found that statehouse reporters have increased, but they are not covering the legislature full-time. In addition, the study also found an increase in student journalists and non-profit reports.

Read the report here.

Inform the National Legislative Dialogue

Do you have news you wish you could share with a national audience?

The NCSL Communications Division is your go-to for expanding your reach. You can now amplify your stories and share your ideas through NCSL’s online newsroom, podcasts, webinars and more.

NCSL is looking to collaborate with LINCS members for fresh content. Have an idea for a legislative topic you wish you knew more about? Is your legislature doing something unique on bipartisanship, legislator training or staff development? Let us know.

To share your ideas, story pitches and topics of interest, please contact NCSL’s communications team.

Questions? Suggestions?

Do you have a question for your fellow LINCSters?

For any and all communications-related questions, you can always ask NCSL or post your questions to the LINCS listserv. Please contact the LINCS Interim Liaison, Angela Andrews, for more information on how to get your questions answered by your peers!

Also, check out the LINCS Comms Shop, your source of information about how states around the country handle communications issues and functions.

The Voice Suggestion Box

Have an idea for a future issue of The Voice? Want to contribute a short feature? Contact LINCS Secretary Camille Taylor.

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