A congressional hearing, especially one involving a company’s CEO, is one of the most agonizing predicaments for any corporate lobbyist or communications professional. Especially when matters of legal liability, regulatory penalty, and corporate reputation loom large. Obviously, this situation calls for a highly integrated game plan, involving political intelligence, pre-hearing staff outreach, media management and, of course, extensive rehearsal and prep for the CEO. But, as intimidating as this process might appear, be heartened by the notion that these hearings are rarely well-orchestrated interrogations. A 90-minute appearance by your CEO is actually a series of five to 10 minute exchanges with individual Members who may take up half of their time delivering remarks intended for their hometown newspaper. Success requires blending an overarching set of messages—and answers—with an individualized strategy for each Member interview.
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