The key to giving a successful briefing and improving briefing skills is to keep it accurate, clear, and concise. Moreover, the objective may be similar to a presentation or speech; the format itself is different. Just as in other types of oral communication, moreover, a successful briefing focuses more on the audience. While the information supplied at the time of briefing skill is essential, what is more, essential is that the information evokes the desired response.
General Best Practices
Know your topic and fully understand the concept and objective for conducting the briefing. Just like a proper speech, which is most of the time planned down to the final word, a successful briefing is most often delivered extemporaneously. A well-organized outline or some of the strategic notes and supporting information such as a few simple but highly relevant slides or audience hand-outs are all you should carry with you to the podium.
Give an Organized Briefing
A successful huge briefing has a distinct beginning, body, and end. Start the briefing by presenting a big picture outline of the information you are about to present. A good idea is to simply reference the major points in your briefing outline. The body of the briefing should reference the objectives in the order being presented in that outline. Organize the major primary points of each objective in a specified format and logical order, such as chronologically, with a cause-and-effect format or topical organization. The ending should consist of a short summary of the information just be presented. Be sure thanking the audience for listening before conducting the briefing.
Establish a Commanding Presence with Briefing skills
Eye contact, body movements, and voice are key elements in successful briefings. Don’t look over the heads of the audience or between the audience members, but instead, make sure to maintain direct eye contact as you would during normal communication. Research for it out and try to give the most direct attention to senior ranking members of the audience, but if possible, attempt to pay at least some attention to each audience member. Both the natural hand gestures are essential, as most of the briefings are delivered from behind a podium. Speak clearly and articulately so that your words are easy to understand. Moreover, varying the rate, volume, pitch, and force of your voice and delivery.
Answer Audience Questions
A distinguishing feature of a successful briefing is a final question and answer (Q&A) session. Ask for feedback, and make sure to be prepared to answer a wide range of questions. While you will be most likely to be able to anticipate some of the more common questions, others may look to come out of nowhere. If you can’t answer any of the question immediately, say no and give a time frame for providing the answer. Make sure to speak with assurance, keep answers brief, and don’t be evasive even in the face of a difficult or negative question.
Talk about issues and challenges in the industry, not just you:
While briefing skill is one of the excellent resource to raise awareness of your company within the industry, this is not a free pass to just talking about your company and how great you are. Not only are editors obligated to be vendor-neutral, but no editor is going to write about you without including the context of the industry and possibly your competitors. The best way to set yourself apart and really sell your company is by resourcing and addressing the challenges in the industry and how your company is working to solve them. Make sure to positioning yourself as a forward-thinking and a community player to better the industry will go a long way.
(The images used in the post are extracted from unsplash)