Each year, mayors, council presidents, and city managers deliver State of the City speeches. These speeches can increase transparency and help local leaders connect with constituents, network with local business, and tout their accomplishments to the region. For these reasons, an effective speech can be a powerful governing tool to add to your repertoire, if it is not already.

Annually, the National League of Cities (NLC) conducts an analysis of a large sample of State of the City speeches. The State of the Cities report aggregates the content of these speeches by policy area to give a snapshot of the issues important to mayors and their cities. Based on the expertise NLC has developed by reading these speeches, we offer the following advice to local officials interested in delivering a State of the City address or in improving their presentation techniques. This how-to will provide a structure for a State of the City address, give real examples from 2016 State of the City speeches, and help develop content for speeches.