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Presenting to Council

Presenting the council for your first time can be nerve wracking! We wanted to create a guide to help answer some of the questions about presenting and hopefully alleviate some of the nerves associated with public speaking. We hope you find it useful.

Step 1 - Creating your PowerPoint

PowerPoints are a helpful way to keep the council and the community engaged, while also providing an outline for your presentation. Below you will find PowerPoint templates to use.

Here are some helpful tips to assist you with creating your PowerPoint. 

  • One message per slide
    • Don't make it confusing for your audience by making sure that their attention is on one item. This way, they can clearly listen to your message without getting cluttered
  • Use PowerPoint as its supposed to be used: short, sweet bit of text and an image
    • PowerPoint slides should augment your message, not reiterate it
    • Instead of writing down what you are going to say, just say it. Your audience will focus on you and digest the information better
  • The most important part of your PowerPoint should also be the biggest; nothing else
    • Make your headings a smaller font, and your content a larger font
    • In many cases, the heading is not the important part of the presentation. Our eyes will naturally be drawn to larger objects, so you want to make sure that your bullet points and content text is in a larger font than the slide title
  • Contrast
    • NO white backgrounds. Dark backgrounds cause the eyes to relax and make the slide more legible to read
    • Remember: YOU are the presentation; your slides are your visual aid
  • No more than 6 items per page
    • You audience's capacity to understand will drastically decrease if 7 or more items are on a slide - keep it at a minimum (6 or less)
      • Note: this does not mean your PowerPoint should be 6 slides long; just the items/bullet points on it. Please do keep in mind, though, to not have too many slides - just enough slides to convey your message

Step 2 - Practice

Practicing your presentation is key! Have you watched someone present and been impressed with their ability to be engaging, get their point across while also showing some personality? If so, ask them to review your presentation with you! We are on the same team and everyone wants you to be successful as much as you do. Reviewing your presentation with someone who you admire will give you the opportunity to practice and get useful feedback from them.

Step 3 - Meeting Day

Send your PowerPoint to the City Clerk's office so we can upload it to the computer for the meeting. Once Mayor Kate calls your item, you will take your seat next to the City Manager and share your screen using Zoom on the computer in front of you. Once you finalized your presentation, stop sharing screen.

Step 4 - The Presentation

Smile - you're on camera!

All our presentations start with introducing yourself to the council and highlighting what you will be discussing. While the council may know who you are, the community may not - and they are watching in-person and online. Always refer to the Mayor and Council as 'Mayor Kate' or Councilmember [last name].

"Good evening Mayor Kate and members of the City Council. My name Jane Doe, Public Works Senior Management Analyst, and tonight I will be discussing updates to our sidewalk program..."

At the end of your presentation, you'll want to make sure to include a slide on what you are asking of the council for the evening, and then conclude with a 'thanks'!

"The recommended action for this evening is [adopt the resolution...] and that concludes my presentation for this evening and I am happy to answer any questions you may have."

The council has the opportunity to ask questions. Typically if a councilmember has a question they will ask you prior to the meeting - this will help you be prepared to respond. Read any correspondence from community members in advance of your presentation because it will give you the opportunity to prepare responses for public comment. Do your best to consider any questions that may come up following your presentation. If you don't have an answer to a question posed by the city council, let them know you don't have the answer at the moment but would be happy to find out and let them know as soon as possible.

As mentioned above, the community also has the opportunity to ask questions of staff during public comment. Make sure to keep notes of the comments, and respond to the most pertinent questions. If the Mayor wants you to respond to an additional question, she will ask you to respond to it.

Note: when responding to questions from the public, you will respond to the city council with your answers. Anytime we present, we are presenting to the city council, not to the community. All answers shall be directed to the city council.

If you anticipate a question from the public or council that is complex, keep an additional slide at the end of the deck just in case it comes up.

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