What Councillors Want: 
Top Tips for Effective Budget Presentations to Council



A number of tools and resources were mentioned during this session. Click on the links below to explore them, or contact us for more information. Thanks for watching! 

  1. Andy Goodman's tools for lay people to be better communicators

  2. The Harvard Kennedy School's resources for data visualization and social media.

  3. Harvard Kennedy School's Workshop on data storytelling materials

eDemocracy Webinar Series - Social

Webinar Summary 

Click here to read our speakers' bios. 

0:00 - Host Andrea Reimer, former Vancouver City Councillor, introduces the eDemocracy Webinar series and the topic of today's discussion: "translating good engagement into good presentations".
4:33 - Jeana Dunlap, former member of the Louisville Metro Government, explains the challenges she faced in explaining community development initiatives to Council members, and how this informed her 3 top tips for better presentations. 
13:11 - Andrea Reimer asks participants to vote on their biggest struggle while preparing a report for Council. 
15:46 - Kevin Quinlan, former Chief of Staff at the City of Vancouver, explains how his ten years working in the Office of the Mayor put him in front of many different presentations and showed him the best strategies for engaging Council. 
20:47 - Kevin shares 6 tips that he noticed made presentations more successful. 
  • "Sometimes a great Powerpoint and presentation is not enough. The delivery matters. It's easy to default to have the most senior person on a project present, [but] your team needs to be honest about whether that person is a solid presenter." 
31:53 - Matt Harder, founder of Civic Trust, explains how they built both public- and Council-facing reports as part of their participatory budgeting pilot project in Atlanta. 
35:45 - Andrea Reimer asks Jeana to speak to the challenges of making data meaningful. To Jeana, it involves using the story you are trying to tell as a guide-post for which information and data to include or exclude. 
  • “You have to challenge yourself to edit down and scale back to something that's really hits home with the person that you're you're talking to.”
40:24 - Kevin talks about the importance of good presenters and strategic communication in today’s environment, where the media pays closer attention to Council decisions and people can watch from home. 
45:42 - Matt speaks to how consultancy organizations like Civic Trust support local governments in being able to do better communications. 
49:43 - Jeana talks about strategies that worked well at Louisville Metro Government to get staff more comfortable with public speaking. 
53:52 - Kevin agrees about building out the capacity and experience of staff teams so as not to rely on one or two star presenters.
58:05 - Jeana discusses how to deal with ‘curveball’ questions from Council during presentations. 

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