Leadership Techniques: the 3 Bs of Briefing

By | February 27, 2021

[February 26, 2021]  Enforce the 3Bs of the briefing: Be brief, Be brilliant, Be gone.  We’ve all been at the traditional graduation ceremony where the speaker went on and on.  We only remember that we were there and the day was a happy one.  The speaker?  Who was that guy anyway?  The 3Bs is one of many leadership techniques that will help focus staff members and astonish the Boss.

Everyone wants to impress the Company CEO, the Unit Commander, and the Boss. Briefers will try to go long to impress. Put the 3B rule into place to ensure quality, not quantity.  It’s not called a “briefing” for no reason; keep it short.

Several commanders, I worked for limited briefers to five minutes on any subject to enforce brevity, and everyone present had to stand throughout the brief.  A room full of people standing and waiting for you to finish gives the briefer something to think about.  I had a friend who was great at giving the evil eye stare to anybody who went long.

Rehearsals and Backbriefs:

One method of enforcing the rule of 3Bs is with rehearsals and backbriefs before the execution of a brief.  Usually, an assistant to the Boss takes the briefer aside and requires a dress rehearsal in real-time.  While this has several functions, like ensuring the briefer is fully prepared, it also allows the assistant to cut short unwanted or less relevant material.

This is a rule that I would also pass along new leaders in their incoming speech to the organization.  Often, a new boss will want to address as many organization members as possible – first impressions matter.  If the speech is long and drawn out, people will begin to tune out, which sets an unfortunate precedent for the future.  You can judge a new leader by their brevity.

Make it Personal:

The point of any briefing is to have people remember what you said.  A technique is to make it personal.  Don’t be afraid to allow some emotion to enter into your voice, if appropriate.  If the news is good, say you’re happy and proud.  If you have to share something bad, make your tone and your expression match the news.  Convey the message through sight and speech.

Be Clear, be Loud, and be Precise:

And, lastly, to ensure your speech is short, speak clearly, loudly, and precisely.  That way, you can be confident people can hear what you say, understand it, and not have to repeat a point made earlier.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Leadership Techniques: the 3 Bs of Briefing

  1. Colleen Ramirez

    Yeah, I heard this before but it bares repeating for those not familiar with basic speech making. I like it.

  2. Mr. T.J. Asper

    I only wish our political elites (and I don’t use that word ‘elites’ lightly as they think they are superior to us) would take this to heart and stop going on and on about stupid things. Look for example at Gen. Satterfield’s Daily Favorites and the concept of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head gaining a gender-neutral identify. Crazy nuts are running the nation now.

    1. Linux Man

      All I can say about Hasbro is that they are a bunch of nitwits. I heard now that they retracted the ‘gender neutral’ idea and apologized. This all AFTER a backlash. You would have thought they had some brains there. I’m not recommending people be fired for stupid ideas but a good bit of shaming is certainly in store for them.

      1. Emily Baker

        Shame is only the first step, IMO. They should be kicked out of the company and laughed at for their gross ignorance of what America is all about.

  3. Ronny Fisher

    Gen. Satterfield, I would hope you make this into another one of your series where you continue to give us, in this case, more “leadership techniques.” I know that some of them are old. But they are also time tested and for good reason — they work!. Keep these great articles coming our way.

  4. Greg Heyman

    Ways to be more brilliant:
    1. Rehearse.
    2. Deliver your story with more passion (by rehearsing).
    3. Hold the team and work to very high standards. Don’t show up with average.
    4. See your pitch from the client eyes first. Where would they find fault in your offering?
    5. Show you care.

    1. Purse 5

      Good details. Not really ‘brilliant’ but ways to make it appear we are PREPARED. And that is the point here. So, thanks Greg, well done.

  5. Rev. Michael Cain

    “I had a friend who was great at giving the evil eye stare to anybody who went long.” Great idea for stand up briefings.

    1. Army Captain

      Leadership Toolbox: the Standup Meeting
      Gen. Satterfield wrote about ‘stand up briefings’ two years ago. I like the search feature to find it easily. And, I thought I had read this before. It’s not a new idea but a sound idea that WORKS. Thanks to all those who read this leadership blog and comment. I can tell you from direct experience in the US Army that these articles are right on target for the average leader. Very helpful, indeed.

    1. Doug Smith

      There is genius in these words. Today’s supercharged social economy has us glued to our smart phones alerting us with: snaps, score alerts, texts, insta-awesome photos, and god forbid email.

      1. JT Patterson

        Hi Harold, haven’t seen you on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership forums in a few weeks. I hope all is well. We always like to see new folks make comments and tell us what they are thinking. Keep reading these forums and you will be surprised how much – how many tidbits of info – you can pickup by only devoting a few minutes a day.

  6. Forrest Gump

    “Be Clear, be Loud, and be Precise.” Good one! This does apply more than the average person might think. Otherwise, you know the drill, “stupid is as stupid does.”

    1. Roger Yellowmule

      …. and we all overlook it from time to time. Most of us like to hear ourselves talking and that we are the “expert” that should be listened to. I know I do on occasion and then I catch myself and say “stop it Roger,” and then I stop and pay more attention to those around me.

      1. rjsmithers

        This is called self-realization. It is the first step to improving yourself as a person, and as a leader as well.


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