The Oral Board Opening Statement
Among the police oral board questions that appear with a high rate of frequency is the oral board opening statement.
The oral board opening statement can play two critical roles for you in your interview:
- It gives you an opportunity to impress your police oral board panel.
- It is your warm up for the tougher oral interview questions to come.
Using your Oral Board Opening Statement as your warm up
Let’s start with the second of those. Before you exercise it is wise to warm up. Before you play a sport it is wise to warm up. Actually, with nearly any type of performance it is best to start with a warm up. The warm up helps with peak performance.
Your oral board is a performance. So, if you are asked by the oral interview panel to give an opening statement, it will likely be the first police oral board question they ask you. When your answer is a well-developed and well-delivered statement you will start to relax because you aced the first question. That will put you in a better state of mind for what is to come. Think of your opening statement as your warm up for your peak oral board performance.
Using your Oral Board Opening Statement to impress
Beyond being a warm up, the oral board opening statement also is your opportunity to impress.
Many police promotion candidates have difficulty forming an impactful opening statement, often because they do not want to come across as boastful or conceited. While I respect their humility, the oral board opening statement is not the time to be humble – it is your opportunity to impress.
My three key recommendations when developing your oral board opening statement are:
- Be honest. Our whole profession is based on integrity. Fabricating or stretching the truth is unacceptable
- Wordsmith. Use the right phrases to put “you” in the best light. For example, let’s assume that the lieutenant in charge of a special unit encouraged you to apply to be part of their team. Instead of saying “I then went to work in the Street Crimes Unit”, I recommend that you say that you were “recruited” or “hand picked” by the commander of the Street Crimes Unit to be a member of their team. The change of assignment remained the same but using more effective words can increase the impact.
- Prepare your statement chronologically rather than categorically. Telling your story in the sequence in which events occurred should make it easier for the oral interview panel to process how you developed to the state of readiness that is deserving of your promotion.
Opening Statement Demonstration
Watch the video below to see how I structure an opening statement for a police sergeant oral board.
Did you see how it was easier to follow my career progression when it was crafted chronologically? If I had structured this statement by categories it would be much more difficult for the assessors to process the time relationship of my experiences.
Restrictive Opening Statements
Keep in mind that your process may put more structure around your opening statement, such as “Tell us about your training and police experiences that have prepared you for this position”. If that is how it is asked of you, only reference those parts of your background that fall into those categories. However, I would still structure the presentation chronologically so it is easier for the listeners to follow.
To summarize, an honest, well-developed, chronological opening statement can set the stage for a strong remainder of your police promotion interview. I strongly recommend that you maximize this opportunity.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to excel at your police oral board, see if one-to-one confidential coaching or the online e-Learning Oral Boards Made Easy for Police Promotion course is right for you.