Preparing to give evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee
Giving evidence to a Select Committee might be an experience that you have been waiting for for all your life or, if you or your organisation were to be scrutinised, it could be an experience you are dreading.
The support we provide for Select Committee appearance preparation goes further
Our Select Committee appearance preparation includes training, advice, interview techniques and reputation protection and management.
Why you may need support before giving your evidence to a Select Committee
Being under scrutiny and being grilled about how your industry operates or about a certain piece of legislation midst reports of unethical or illegal practises, could have you feeling extremely anxious and apprehensive, especially if it is before a Select Committee, since not only will they be digging deep for answers but these hearings are also broadcast for everyone to scrutinise.
Our clients appreciate our Select Committee support throughout the whole experience because our strategies include looking for opportunities to raise profiles, positive corporate publicity and reputation rebuilding in the aftermath and not just surviving the Select Committee interviews.
Who are the Select Committee?
The Select Committee is a collective of chosen chairs by Members of Parliament tasked with investigating and finding evidence of certain topics and challenges regarding laws and current big issues, for the greater good.
What do Select Committees do?
They are different than the political exchanges that occur in the Commons as they are set up to scrutinise specific issues of how programmes are delivered or how an individual, company or industry operates. The evidence sessions could go on for weeks, and they often call in officials and experts as witnesses to help them succeed with the specific task. When they conclude, they publish their findings in a report, and the government is expected to respond to their recommendations. The Select Committee has more far-reaching influence both within the government and the sectors that they have been tasked to report about.
How do I set about Select Committee appearance preparation
We would advise for you to retain the services of a highly experienced media-trained PR agency, like ours, that deals with protecting personal and corporate reputations. A PR agency that has vast experience in select committee appearance preparation and offers media training and crisis management. They are also expert in turning a bad PR event into good news.
You won’t have heard too much about these people since they have done exactly what they are trained to do, and that is damage limitation, performed daily, and have protected people from further media scrutiny.
As the broadcasting of these Select Committee evidence ‘court room drama style’ sessions are becoming increasingly popular, and they are regularly shown, shared, linked and indexed all across the media platforms, it could make or break the reputation of anyone or any company under their scrutinising lens. As stated before, the Select Committee investigatory interviews represent an opportunity to tell your side of the story, focus on any interests that matter to your organisation and offers you a perfect platform to position yourself at the forefront of a debate, raise your public and corporate profile and build relationships with the government.
The steps we take to ensure the Select Committee goes as smoothly as possible:
Sharing our experience with you
Through our experience, we make sure you know what to expect, and we allay any apprehensions you might feel. So often, just not knowing how it will feel can instil anxious feelings. Seeing it on the screen is quite different than attending physically. Our calm conveyance of what to expect will alleviate any anxieties that you may have.
A lot of ground work
We do the groundwork with you to make your feel more comfortable and focus on message development. It could very well be that a member of the Select Committee panel is an MP that will be taking advantage of the platform to raise their profile and thus structure their questions in a hostile way to grab some profile building headlines themselves. It may not occur but preparing for such hostility is much better than be alarmed in the moment. Being equipped with courteous responses is essential. By asking you basic, surprising, hostile and difficult anticipated questions and thorough researching, we will arm you with message points.
Role-play lead by a an experienced journalist and by a former politician
Making sure we train you by doing role-play scenarios and going over the questions and answers time and again, so that you learn to relax and stay calm and give messages that are concise, justifiable, memorable and credible. This is an important part of the exercise for us since our PR media training scenarios will over-prepare you, keep you calm under pressure and result in the all-important outcome of how you will compose yourself and be perceived during the sessions. These are crucial and helpful when using the opportunity to raise public and corporate profiles and build relationships.
Arming you with techniques and encourage you to practice as much as you can and speaking out loud and clear is all part of our select committee appearance preparation. This exercise instils great confidence and makes you sound authoritative and professional. The more you speak louder and clearer, the more you own your answer, and it stops you from faltering or hesitating.
Select Committees are tasked with digging really deeply and could convey a reaction of defensiveness and frustration, so learning and practising all of the answers to possible questions is essential. They can sometimes be surprising, since they have far reaching remits, which gives them an unpredictability but with our training, we will teach you how to take a breath and a pause and what not to say.
Body language techniques
Working with you on body language and facial expression techniques, how to stay attentive and remain controlled and how to talk open and directly to the person asking the questions.
A media crisis trained PR expert will be a person that keeps their head in a crisis and are measured and controlled. Being by the side of someone like this is incredibly powerful. If someone is frantic, it is nerve-jangling and can make the whole process a lot worse than it would have been.
If they have trained you well, this moment won’t feel as you had originally imagined. Keeping you free from stress and making sure that you breathe slowly and stay relaxed are key components of a good media crisis trained PR agent and is imperative to how you will feel and behave when attending a Select Committee session.
Staying calm no matter what
Being grilled by a Select Committee could fill you with dread or anger, which will not be useful. A media-trained PR agent by your side will keep you calm, respectful and professional and ensure that the experience and your performance is all turned around to your advantage. The value of successful Select Committee appearance preparation mustn't be underestimated.
Protecting your position with the media following evidence to a Select Committee
When your evidence interview with a Select Committee is over, there might be some media backlash, particularly if you or your organisation had been scrutinised. Making sure you take mitigating action well in advance and immediately after a Select Committee is hugely important to either take full PR advantage of this unique opportunity or to avoid a PR disaster to your brand, regardless whether the brand is you or your organisation.