How to serve on a government committee

I’m currently in the second of my back to back meetings with Paul Chan the HK financial secretary and Carrie Lam the HK chief executive (originally but the typhoon turned her away). I think I’ve roughy reached the epitome of who I could present to in the HK government, both in terms of government levels and the breath of government departments involved.

Some of the things I’ve noticed in the course of my year serving on the Innovation Technology Bureau and working within the government:

  • Be succinct: most of the time, committees are about listening to particular opinions, so be as cogent and succinct as possible
  • Be memorable: have people remember you by how you speak and your distinct opinions. The window you have to interact with the group is small, so stick up from the crowd
  • Be courteous: most people have distinct points to make and self-interested views. Take the higher road by basing an argument based on others’ views and incorporating things that were said previously. It makes people feel included and noticed
  • Be long-term: a majority of views won’t be taken and implemented; take the long view that at some point someone will listen and take things forward, and your job as a committee member is to present a view only