How to make a great presentation to council

Photo by Stephen Legault.

Photo by Stephen Legault.


Have you ever thought about standing up to speak at a public hearing? Are you a seasoned veteran, but wonder if you might be able to brush up on your skills? Read on.

For a full description of the rules and regulations that are in place for public hearings before you get there, be sure to check out the Town of Canmore's detailed page on the subject here

You have five minutes...use them wisely!

Apply these methods for maximum audience engagement:

  1. Know your subject. Do as much background research as possible to understand your topic.
  2. Keep it simple. Once you have the materials, focus yourself down to just one idea. Rather than trying to cram everything you know into the five-minute time frame, think about which nugget will have the most impact if you have five minutes to talk about it.
  3. Plan accordingly. With five minutes, you could spend the first minute expressing to the audience what you want to speak about, three minutes explaining it, and one minute closing with what you would like to see happen.
  4. Practice! Rehearsal is critical. To engage your listeners, be smooth, steady and on point. And be sure to time yourself during practice. Presentations that go over five minutes WILL be cut short by the timer.
  5. Tell your personal story. A presentation full of facts, figures and statistics can quickly lose an audience. One stat may be fine to reinforce a point, but if you want to create a memorable presentation tell a memorable story. You can always expand your argument with more facts in a letter to council prior to the public hearing (see below).

WATCH: The Secret Structure of Great Talks - Nancy Duarte via TED

Submit your comments in writing

If you do not wish to stand up and speak, you can always have your voice heard by submitting a letter to be read and considered by the councillors prior to a public hearing. 

After a public hearing date is set by council, and before the hearing begins, submit your written comments through our municipal clerk, Cheryl Hyde.

·         Email

·         In person: Canmore Civic Centre, 902-7 Avenue

·         Mail: Town of Canmore. Attn: Municipal Clerk, 902-7 Avenue, Canmore AB, T1W 3K1