by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
FCW : October 30, 2012
22 October 30, 2012 FCW.COM How to get along with Congress me some valuable lessons. First, the notice that you are being called to testify is a sobering event --- not as sobering as being sworn in before the committee and cameras, but it will raise your pulse rate. Preparation for the event is essential, and having members of your support staff who are experienced and compe- tent is a must. The rst time I was called to testify, my head of congressional affairs was a former congressman and committee chairman. His demeanor and experience lowered my blood pressure. And although issue papers, congres- sional staff questions and research are all vital, it doesn t hurt to gather politi- cal intelligence. Find out what you can about the members of the committee --- such as their biases, favorite issues and where they are from. Rehearse for the hearing by having your staffers ask the kinds of hard questions that are likely to come from committee members. The drill is like- ly to highlight your weaknesses. Urge your team to be combative and even a little nasty during this exercise. The experience should be the worst you will see, not the best. Also, it is critical to know what prompted the hearing and the back channels that were worked before the hearing was called. The most adversar- ial questions likely will not come from the committee staffers with whom you usually work; they often come from unhappy constituents with an ax to grind. If you know who s unhappy, you can better prepare to address their con- cerns and accusations. Tip 5: Document your case Live statements at the witness table are only part of the equation. You should also prepare three documents for the hearing. The committee will ask for the opening statement in writing at least 24 hours before the hearing. That state- ment is for the Congressional Record and, within reason, can be any length. The second document is the one you read to the committee after you are sworn in. You will typically be given ve minutes for that oral statement. Don t take the full ve. Members are usually inattentive, even if they are present, and don t want to hear you drone on. Take three minutes, catch them off guard and give them back two minutes of their lives. The third document is for the press. It is written in plain English and explains what your statement said and why the hearing was called. That docu- ment will often appear almost verbatim in press articles. Don t complain about the press coverage if you didn t prepare that third document. Tip 6: Keep your cool In general, be relaxed, dress for TV, and be polite and well mannered. Limit your remarks beyond answer- ing questions, and don t talk loosely during recesses or breaks. You don t know who is nearby and what micro- phones are still open. Part of preparation is trying to antici- pate the questions and their tone and then phrase the proper answers. The subtle part of the hearing is the banter and attitude of the participants. Listen carefully to the opening remarks and adjust accordingly. Be on the look- out for those "zinger" questions from unhappy parties you identi ed earlier. Those are often easy to spot because they have an edge that exposes the unhappiness. If you are asked, "Is your agency so ef cient that it received 140 pages of comments on Friday and still released the request for proposals on Monday?" you know the question was not submitted by your friend. The only defense to that type of ambush question is superior intelligence gathering. If you get such a question, be gracious, thank the lawmaker for his or her attention to your agency s ef ciency and answer the question as best you can. Another tactic of trial lawyers and committee members is the hypothetical question: "Mr. Woods, if you could do it over again...." Hypothetical questions attempt to draw out a damaging answer to an inquiry without foundation. When a question contains the words "if" or "looking back" or "in retrospect," you are being asked to answer a hypotheti- cal question. Don t do it. The best retort was given by San- dra Bates, former commissioner of GSA s Federal Technology Service. When she got a "looking back" ques- tion from former Rep. Tom Davis, who was chairman of the House Govern- ment Reform Committee at the time, Bates answered, "My mother said it was OK to look back as long as you didn t stare." The key to responding to those ques- tions is not to give them credence. In other words, dumb questions should not be given serious answers or con- sideration. "If we could turn back the clock 50 years" doesn t warrant a thoughtful reply unless you know something I don t about the existence of time machines. A question that begins "If you were 7 feet 4 inches tall" deserves an answer such as "I would be working for the NBA, not for this agency." Remember: Real ques- tions cannot be answered by fantasy answers, and fantasy questions should not be answered by real ones. Everyone would bene t from bet- ter communication between the execu- tive and legislative branches. Although there are times when those interactions seem less effective and border on being toxic, I believe the basics of building relationships and making government work better are much as they have always been. Honesty and directness are important, but you will never get there without preparing and carefully managing perceptions. ■ Bob Woods is president of Topside Consulting Group and former com- missioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Technol- ogy Service.
October 15, 2012
November 15, 2012